Today, I have signed the Early Day Motion (EDM) calling on the Government to establish a specific fund, from which local authorities can draw, to pay the costs associated with children’s funerals.
The EDM reads:
That this House notes that approximately 5,000 infants and children pass away each year in the United Kingdom; further notes that the cost of children’s funerals imposes a significant and unexpected financial burden on bereaved parents; recognises that some local authorities, as well as religious officiants and undertakers, currently waive all or a proportion of the fees associated with children’s funerals; further recognises that many individuals, community groups and schools undertake fundraising to cover such funeral costs; acknowledges that the total annual cost of fees associated with children’s funerals is £10m; and calls on the Government to establish a specific fund, from which local authorities can draw, to pay the costs associated with children’s funerals.
On average, cremations cost £683 and burials cost £1,645. These are additional to the cost of the funeral, coffin and gravestone. Altogether, the cost of a basic funeral is between £3,700 and £6,000. With more than 16 million people in the UK having savings of less than £100, the only available options for many will be taking out a loan or applying to a charity for funds.
The death of a child has a devastating impact on a family. When this is combined with financial hardship it can create an unbearable situation where families are pushed to their limits.
I have signed this Early Day Motion as it is about time that the UK Government provided the support parents need in their most emotionally vulnerable time. It would allow local government to apply for funding from central government to cover the costs of the funeral.
The UK Government should listen to these calls and implement changes now. The funding costs proportionately little to the Government, but it will mean the world to the 5,000 families who have to face the horror of the death of a child.