Welsh Government to scrap burial charges for children in Wales
Together for Short Lives is delighted that the Welsh Government is to scrap burial charges for children in Wales.
The news was announced by Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones AM during his speech to the Welsh Labour conference on Saturday (25 March). It followed a determined, passionate campaign led by Carolyn Harris MP who lost her own young son and found that she was unable to afford to bury him. Carolyn said:
“I am delighted that the Welsh Government is leading the way by absorbing the cost of child burials. For what has been a very personal and at times upsetting campaign, it has been truly heart-warming to see so many people show such compassion for grieving parents.
No parent should ever have to suffer such a cruel loss, but there are many organisations working to remove an unnecessary stress to an already difficult time.
From local authorities waiving their fees, the clergy providing a free service and funeral directors making their services free, the Welsh Government will now ensure that every bereaved parent in Wales will be able to bury their child without having to worry about the bill”.
As part of the Fair Funerals campaign, Together for Short is calling on the UK’s other governments to follow Wales’ lead. So far, the Prime Minister has refused to scrap children's burial fees in England, stating that the UK government already does enough to help grieving families who can't afford a funeral. While a funeral grant is available to some people on qualifying benefits who would otherwise be unable to afford a funeral, the grant has shrunk so much now it only covers around 40% of a funeral bill. Because Carolyn Harris MP was in low paid work when her son died, for example, she wouldn't have been eligible for help.
Click here for tips on how you can encourage your local MP to take action on funeral poverty.