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When you lose a child, filling the kettle is a major task, filling in a 35 page application is impossible

2 min read

Ahead of her debate on the subject, Labour MP Carolyn Harris describes her own experience and calls for local authority fees to be dropped for children’s funerals.

Losing a child is an experience that changes your world.  Parents always try to do their best for their children.

We all want to give our children the skills to help them build good lives and we all want to go our children the latest toy or gadget.

As a young parent we save for Christmas and birthdays to be able to do this…but when you lose a child the only thing left to give them is a funeral and in my case a grave to tend.

When I lost my son I couldn’t function and do simple daily chores. Like washing my hair or cooking a meal. When the undertaker was explaining to me what the plans for my little boys funeral were, I just wanted to hold my boy in my arms, not bury him.

I’m told my son had a lovely funeral, I don’t remember much about it as my world was black and nothing resonated in my mind. But I do know that several weeks later the funeral bill arrived and I was scared of how I could pay it.

I come from a community who reacted to my loss, in the only way they knew how to, they had a collection. Thank god for my community as that collection was enough to cover three quarters of the funeral cost, much of which was Local Authority fees. A bank loan gave us the remainder.

For a very small amount of money, £10 million, these fees for children’s could be covered and this is a very easy ask of the Government. This gesture would greatly reduce the cost of a funeral and in no small way give comfort to bereaved parents.

The Prime Minister at a recent PMQs suggested that the Social Fund could be used to help, but I say to the Prime Minister, at the darkest moment of a parent’s life, filling the kettle is a major task, filling in a 35 page application is impossible.

Carolyn Harris is Shadow Home Office Minister and Labour MP for Swansea East

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