Hammond urged to set up child funeral fund

Chancellor Philip Hammond should consider creating a child funeral fund in his upcoming Budget to help grieving families deal with the costs of burying their children, a Tory former minister has said.

Helen Grant said the loss of a child can be "very traumatic" and can lead to "extreme financial hardship" for families.

The Maidstone and The Weald MP made the suggestion during a Westminster Hall debate on local authority funeral charges, led by Labour's Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden).

Ms Grant asked: "Does she think that the Chancellor should consider setting up a child funeral fund in his coming Budget to assist with these very high expenses in the case of children?"

Ms McDonagh said she would "absolutely agree".

Justice minister Phillip Lee, responding to the debate, said it was "a matter directly for the Treasury".

Ms McDonagh described variations in burial fees across local authorities, and said: "For the average burial fee of £419 in Northern Ireland to £3,806 in London, there is a stark and immoral postcode lottery in the cost of dying.

"I think it's absolutely abhorrent that councils capitalise on life's two certainties, tax and death, to plug the gaps in their funding and make up for widespread Government cuts."

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