I’ve joined Labour colleagues and MPs from across the Commons to call on the UK Government to stop delaying the introduction of a new fund to cover the cost of children’s funerals.
In March 2018 the Prime Minister announced that the Government would set up a Children’s Funeral Fund to cover costs for bereaved families. This followed a long campaign led by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, whose son Martin died aged eight, and supported by CLIC Sargent and the Co-op. The fund has still not been established, and I have joined a group of MPs to sign a public letter to national newspapers calling on the Government to take imminent action.
The letter highlights that in the year following the Prime Minister’s announcement, an estimated 4,700 children will have died – 230 from cancer alone – with the average funeral costing £4,000.
Burial and cremation fees for children were abolished in Wales following an announcement by former First Minister Carwyn Jones in November 2017, and Newport City Council had already removed charges for the internment of children aged 16 or under.
There is consensus across the political divide that no family should have to pay to bury their child, yet in the year following the Prime Minister’s announcement of new Children’s Funeral Fund bereaved families could have already spent up to £18million on funeral costs. The Government must stop delaying this much-needed fund and end the hardship and worry this is causing for parents already devastated by the loss of a child. I pay tribute to all those who have campaigned so tirelessly on this issue, including my inspirational colleague Carolyn Harris, and I hope that the Government will make good on its promise of a new fund as soon as possible.