Meale wants new government fund to pay for children’s funerals

Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale, who says grieving parents should not have to be subjected to 'funeral poverty'.
Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale, who says grieving parents should not have to be subjected to 'funeral poverty'.

A nationwide campaign urging the government to cover the cost of children’s funerals has been backed by Mansfield MP, Sir Alan Meale.

Sir Alan has written to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, calling for the creation in next month’s Budget of a children’s funeral fund, making £10 million a year available to pay for burial and cremation fees.

“By creating a central fund that local authorities can draw on, the government could ease the financial and emotional pressure on thousands of families at a time when they are suffering from the loss of a child,” he writes.

The campaign, which is backed by charities, has been launched by fellow Labour MP, Carolyn Harris, who broke down in the House Of Commons in November when giving a speech recalling the loss of her eight-year-old son in a road accident in 1989.

Sir Alan says the current system of State support for breaved parents is “no longer fit for purpose”. He accepted that some funeral directors and councils waived costs, but many did not.

“The death of a child is something parents are completely unprepared for, financially as well as emotionally,” he continues. “They want to give them a respectful and dignified send-off. They should not be made to suffer the distress of funeral poverty. All too often the cost of a funeral imposes a crippling burden on grieving parents.”