THE cost of marriages and civil partnerships at Lancashire County Council registry offices and approved non-religious venues is set to rise sharply.

On Thursday senior councillors will be recommended to approve rise in fees of up to one-third for the most popular times.

The authority's Cabinet will also be asked to introduce a late afternoon and early evening service for Mondays to Thursdays to match the existing 4.30 to 7pm provision on Friday's and Saturdays.

The change aims to raise £150,000 to £200,000 as the county seeks to plug its financial gap.

While the cost of a wedding at one of the county council's nine register offices (including in Burnley, Accrington, Clitheroe and Chorley) between 10.30am and noon on a Monday will only rise from £46 to £50, other increases will be much steeper.

Between 13.30pm and 4pm Mondays to Thursday's it will increase from £100 to £150 while on Fridays between 9am and 4pm the price will go up from £150 to £200.

On Friday's between 4.30 and 7pm and Saturdays between 9am and 4pm the cost will rise from £200 to £250 while on Saturdays from 4.30pm to 7pm and Sundays and Bank Holidays from 9am to 4pm it will increase from £250 to £300.

The new Monday to Thursday 4.30pm to 7pm service will cost £250.

There will also be increases in the cost of registering marriages at approved wedding venues such as hotels and stately homes in county including Burnley's Towneley Hall, Clitheroe Castle and Browsholme Hall.

On a Monday to Thursday between 10.30pm and 4pm this cost will rise from £275 to £325, and on Friday's between 9am and 4pm from £300 to £350.

Friday evening and Saturday daytime weddings at 'approved venues' will rise from ££350 to £400 while Saturday evening and Sunday and Bank Holiday ceremonies will cost £450 instead of £375.

The new weekday evening service at such venues will cost £400.

Ribble Valley North -East's Cllr Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Although we would prefer not to have to raise these charges, they haven't been increased for four years.

"Lancashire is a really popular place to get married."

Cllr John Fillis, deputy leader of the county council Labour group said: "Once again the ordinary people of Lancashire are paying the price of the government's austerity policies which are starving the county council of the money it needs."

Blackburn with Darwen Council's marriage and civil partnership registration fees at the registry offices in the two towns are unaltered at £46 and between £86 and £466 for a full ceremony in one of the rooms at the Northgate Suite in King George's Hall.