Removal of child burial charges greeted with delight by charities

 A south west London charity that helps grieving parents welcomed the government’s decision to scrap child burial fees following a campaign by Labour MP for Swansea East Carolyn Harris.

Currently, Wandsworth council charges up to £2,456 for a non-resident child or adult over the age of 12 and £1,867 for residents.

For under five-year-old, the burial fees are £746 for residents and £865 for non-resident, and to bury those under 12-year-old, it costs £1,042 for residents and £1,192 for non-residents.

Francine Bates, CEO of The Lullaby Trust, said: “Paying for the cost of their baby to be buried on top of all other expenses associated with a funeral is not acceptable.

Wandsworth Council have also reacted positively to the government’s decision.

A Wandsworth Council spokesman said: ‘We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement that these fees are to be waived.’

Theresa May declared that funding will be provided for child burial fees in the forthcoming Autumn statement.

This scheme will be named after Mrs Harris’s eight-year-old son, Martin, who died in a road accident in 1983.

Mrs Harris said: “I’ve been kind of shocked for the last couple of days.”

“It is such a wonderful thing for anyone”, Mrs Harris said.

She said that in some occasions the authorities carried out a credit check to see if parents could afford what they were asking for in their children’s funeral.

“But now everything is gone,” Mrs Harris added.

Last September, North East Surrey Crematorium Board (NESCB ), which involves boroughs of Merton, Surrey and Wandsworth, waived part of these fees.

The NESCB approved that a 40-minute chapel service and cremation for all children up to 18 would be at a nil fee from January 2018.

However, this agreement didn’t include the burial services.


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