Barbara has called on the Conservative Government to look at making grants available to support the costs to parents of burying children.
At a debate in Westminster on Children’s Funeral Costs, Barbara and a large number of Labour MPs were present to hear Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, make a courageous speech asking for help from the Government for families who lose a baby or a child.
Carolyn Harris MP described her own pain at the loss of her eight-year old son Martin, who died in a road accident. The MP wants to act as the voice for bereaved parents whom she says will be unprepared emotionally and financially to deal with the death of a child.
The Government Minister’s response was to say that loans of up to £700 were available towards funeral costs, however the loans are only available to those on benefits. He also stated local councils should look at waiving burial fees, as some councils are already doing.
Speaking in the debate, Barbara Keeley said that:
“parents in a fog of bereavement cannot even think of filling in DWP forms, and a grant of £700 goes nowhere towards the cost of a funeral in many parts of the country”
After the debate, Barbara commented:
“The Minister’s only solution seemed to be for councils to waive burial fees. I applaud those councils that have managed to do that, but it does present councils with a really hard choice on whether they can provide this help.”
“I hope some of our councils in Greater Manchester will be able to look at waiving burial fees and other costs for children’s funerals, but it would be fairer if the Government provided this help to all families who lose a child.”