Grieving families are paying an “unfair” fee for cremation services after 3.40pm, it is being claimed.

Now a councilor is calling for the extra charge, which covers staff overtime, to be withdrawn.

Adel and Wharfedale councillor Barry Anderson criticized the additional fee of £72 for families wanting to cremate their loved ones in Leeds after 3.40pm.

But Leeds City Council says the charge covers staff overtime and that a similar fee is applied by most local authorities.

Coun Anderson said: “I was surprised when a constituent told me they had been charged an extra £72 for booking a cremation at 3.40 in the afternoon. It seems grossly unfair that families should be hit with this additional charge, over and above the cost of the cremation itself.

“It is even more shocking to learn that the Council insists on this extra fee for the last slot of the day, in order to cover the cost of paying staff overtime. Cremator staff normally work until 4pm, which to many will seem like a very early finish.

“I would urge the Council to look again at these charges. Surely it can’t be right that families opting for this slot should be hit with extra fees, essentially due to the terms and conditions of the service’s staff? The Council should either drop this unfair charge or change the working day for these staff so that working after 4pm does not count as overtime.”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “An additional charge of £72 is levied for 3.40pm cremations to cover the additional staffing costs incurred. This is because the cremator staff normally work until 4pm and staff have to be retained to ensure the service and process of cremation are completed before the end of the day.

 “An earlier cremation time can be booked which does not incur the additional charge.  I understand that most local authorities offering a cremation service charge a similar fee.”