Funeral costs have risen by an average of 5% but a postcode lottery for charges means bills for burial or cremation in some parts of the country have jumped by nearly a third.

The average cremation fee has risen by 5.2% to £753, while the cost of burying has risen by 5% to an average of £1,792, according to online funeral comparison service Funeralbooker. It has published data from all of the 282 UK crematoria and 951 public and privately owned cemeteries.

Costs vary greatly depending on where you live and the price you pay is entirely dependent on how much local councils and private companies decide to hike prices.

The biggest increase came from Cheltenham Borough Council, which increased cremation fees by 32% from £645 to £853. However, the 10 crematoria with the highest fees are all privately-owned.

Beckenham, Crawley, Leatherhead, Nuneaton, Moray, Dundee, Oxford, Northampton and Chichester are the joint most expensive places to be cremated in the UK, with families facing a £999 fee. Residents in Feltham in Hounslow, London pay the least, £490.

Seven in ten people are cremated and 240 out of 282 UK crematoria raised prices last year - the vast majority at a rate higher than inflation.

The ultimate stealth tax?

Burial fees are subject to similar rates of increase. Londoners face the highest cost at an average of £3,806, more than double the UK average. Highgate Cemetery in London charges £18,325. By contrast, a burial in Northern Ireland costs an average of £419, less than a quarter of the UK average.

James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker, says: “These price hikes are the ultimate stealth tax, going completely unnoticed by families until their moment of need.

"But with such significant price differences now appearing across the UK, many will be questioning whether these fees genuinely reflect the service they are getting or are simply down to opportunistic greed."

See our Plan for death guide for tips on funeral costs and how to keep them down.