Labour calls for child funeral costs plan to be introduced

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Bereaved parents coping with the death of a young child should be given Government support to help cover the cost of the funeral, Labour has said.

Jeremy Corbyn said "losing a child is unimaginable" as Labour called for Chancellor Philip Hammond to allocate £10 million in the Autumn Statement to pay for the plan.

About 5,000 children and young people die each year, with over two-thirds dying before their first birthday.

Labour's plan would mean that no grieving family would have to pay for either a burial plot or cremation that are provided by local authorities for a child that dies aged under 16.

Shadow communities and local government secretary Teresa Pearce said: "Sadly, each year around 5000 children die, many of them in their infancy.

"If the Government accept our proposal to provide free burial for children, it would go some way to reducing the strain for those grieving families.

"While we must always be careful with public expenditure, the cost of this scheme for Government is minimal when compared to the benefits it could bring."

At present, local authorities across England have different charging regimes for the burial or cremation of children, with some already offering the service for free.

The cost of Labour's plan is based on using the most expensive council fee and multiplying it by the number of child deaths a year.