An MP whose 8 year old son died has spoken out for the thousands of parents who can’t afford a funeral.
Speaking passionately about the death of her son, Martin, Carolyn Harris MP said:
“When the undertaker was explaining to me what the plans for my little boy’s funeral were, I just wanted to hold my little boy, not bury him. I remember the day the bill arrived and that fear in my stomach as to how I would pay it.”
Carolyn is calling on central government to fund a child funeral funeral, covering the cost of a burial or cremation when a child dies. The scheme would cost £10million to cover costs for child funerals right across the country.
Our Down to Earth project supports hundreds of people a year struggling with the pain and distress of not being able to afford a funeral. Right now the government are failing people. We wholeheartedly support Carolyn’s campaign.
We ask you to write to your MP asking them to support this call. Most MPs take the concerns of their constituents seriously. You have more power than you probably think.
We encourage you to edit this letter in your own words.
Right now we have a unique opportunity to influence Caroline Nokes, the government minister responsible for financial support for the bereaved, and get her to do the right thing by grieving people.
Do the government already do enough?
So far the government has responded to Carolyn by saying they already provide help through the funeral grant (called the Social Fund Funeral Payment).
In answer to this Carolyn says; “I could not even fill a kettle, let alone fill in a 35-page application form.”
But the sad truth is even if Carolyn had felt able to fill out the form, she would have received nothing from the government. The funeral grant is not available if you or anyone in your family is in employment. At the time of her son’s death, Carolyn was working as a dinner lady and barmaid.
Thousands of grieving people in low paid work are turned down for help towards funeral costs every year.
And even for those people who are eligible, the funeral grant covers only around 40% of funeral costs.
This is totally unacceptable. We need a safety net that works. Everyone deserve a decent send off when someone we love dies.
The government have ignored funeral poverty for a long time but there are now signs that they might be starting to listen. In a House of Commons debate, Marcus Jones MP, speaking on behalf of the Minister Caroline Nokes, said:
“I am sure that as a result of tonight’s debate, we will all reflect on what she has suggested the Government do.”
Please help Carolyn and other grieving parents by contacting your MP and asking them to support this campaign.
Click here to listen to Carolyn's moving speech in Parliament.