5,000 families a year still have to pay for children’s funerals, despite Prime Minister's promise to abolish charges

31 January 2019

Ten months after the Prime Minister promised to scrap children’s funeral fees, leaders at Co-op funeral care have written to Theresa May asking why the proposed 'Children’s Funeral Fund' has not yet been established.

The fund, which was announced in April 2018, is intended to cover the cost of children’s funerals, to ensure the 5,000 families who lose a child every year do not suffer financial hardship as a result.

Now, one of the larget funeral providers in the country has written to the Prime Minister to ask why nothing has been implemented since the announcement.

David Collingwood, director of funerals at the Co-op writes: “We are concerned that there is a lack of consistency in the UK which could leave many bereaved families facing financial problems.

"We’ve therefore asked The Prime Minister to ensure her pledge on the Children’s Funeral Fund is implemented as soon as possible. 

“Losing a child is utterly devastating and something that no parent should ever have to experience. Whilst we don’t charge for our services for children up to the age of 18, third party costs can still be a considerable burden for bereaved families.

"It is therefore crucial that families wherever they live receive the support which has been promised to them.”

Carolyn Harris, Labour MP, Swansea East, whose 8-year-old son died in a car accident in 1989, echoes Co-op’s call: “We have now been waiting almost ten months for the Children’s Funeral Fund to be implemented in England.

"Too many bereaved families have already faced the cruel reality of burying their child without the financial support that the government promised is on its way. 

“It’s time for the government to stop talking and implement the fund with immediate effect, so that parents in England have the same support as those across the rest of the United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister's office has responded to the letter. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister says: “No grieving parent should have to worry about how to meet the funeral costs for a child.

“The Prime Minister confirmed parents will no longer have to meet the costs of burials or cremations, and fees will be waived by all local authorities and paid for by the government.

“We have been working on the most effective way to deliver the fund to make sure we get this right and will update on its implementation as soon as possible.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Why the surprise about this delay. ? The Civil Service is not an infinite mine of bureaucrats.As a nation that voted to enter the legislative and administrative minefield that Brexit would inevitably impose, surely a logjam on customary day to day governmental processes was to be expected, I am not surprised and no-one else should be, if Brexit was what was wanted.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

When i see some of the elaborate funerals some parents have for children that have died and claim they can't afford it. Any taxpayer paid funeral should only cover collection of body, very basic coffin, basic transport to crematorium out of hours for cremation. If they prefer a fancy funeral with trimmings they should pay for it themselves or maybe just given a voucher to cover that basic service. That's all my prepaid funeral plan covers as it's all I can afford so why should I be expected to contribute for others to have all the trimmings.

In reply to by Contax (not verified)

Exactly as I have stated

I have just written the same in article for increased £1,000 funeral grant. I am a pensioner on old basic pension not GPC, I paid £1,150 to Co-op to collect body in basic unpolished coffin, open dad's grave, drop me in and fill in, nothing extra, not even a hearse just their van to deliver me. Why should our taxes be used for the elaborate show off funerals these people have for their kids. I worked hard and saved a bit for my old age instead of enjoying my earnings and now have to pay for those who lived a life of holidays and fun. I wasted my life working and contributing.

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