Controversial child burial look set to be axed after a moving campaign by an MP who had to ask for donations from neighbours to help her bury her eight year-old son.
Carolyn Harris’ son Martin tragically died after being knocked down in the road in 1989 – before she had entered Parliament.
But she had to take out a bank loan as she struggled to afford to costs of burying her son.
The MP for Swansea East has led a campaign for the charges to be abolished and has been urged by Chancellor Philip Hammond to make more representations ahead of the autumn Budget.
Some 100 MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May urging her to get rid of the charges as figures show a rising number of children are having paupers funerals amid rising funeral costs.
Carolyn Harris’ son Martin tragically died after being knocked down in the road in 1989 – before she had entered Parliament (file pic)
Ms Harris told The Sunday Times: ‘We had to take out a £700 bank loan and the neighbours had a whip round which raised the rest to pay for Martin’s funeral.
‘You never expect to have to bury your own child. You can’t cope with the emotion of the loss, let alone deal with the terrifying prospect of trying to find enough money to cover the cost of the funeral.
‘The answer is for local authorities to waive charges for children to give parents one less thing to worry about.’
In the letter, Ms Harris urged the PM to scrap the charges as soon as possible – warning that thousands of families will be affected if she waits until autumn.
She wrote: ‘The reality is that by waiting another six months until the Autumn Budget, over 2,000 more families will face the heartbreak of losing their son or daughter without the financial support so many of them need at this devastating time.
Some 100 MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May (pictured with her husband going to church today) urging her to get rid of the charges as figures show a rising number of children are having paupers funerals amid rising funeral costs
‘In recent weeks, I have been contacted by more and more local authorities with the positive news that they will be scrapping their fees for children’s funerals.’
Mrs Harris’s letter has already attracted almost 100 signatures pledging cross-party support.
Among them are Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Tories including Philip Davies.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already pledged his party’s backing.
He told the Sunday Mirror: ‘It’s time for the Government to show some compassion and support for parents in difficult of times.’
Earlier this week Walsall Council in the Midlands became the latest local authority to scrap child burial fees.
Councillor Diane Coughlan said: ‘As a council we were aware of the campaign and the work being done to scrap charges.
‘We had a couple of sudden deaths of young people in the borough and that really brought things forward. So we asked officers to look at the cost to the council and it was negligible.
‘But the impact it will have on families is massive, so we were delighted to take the decision.’