UK GOVERNMENT CUTS TO BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT

I raised the need for the House of Commons to have further debate and scrutiny of cuts to Bereaved Families.

These cuts will hit bereaved families hard and will disproportionately affect women. Working age women are more likely to claim Bereavement Allowance, with 70% of claimants in 2014 being female. It is clear that bereavement is one of the main causes of financial difficulty, according to research, yet support for bereaved families has been cut. This will directly affect thousands of people across the UK and 40to 50 newly widowed parents in my constituency of North Ayrshire & Arran.

The fact is that those who are grieving need support, and unless that support is adequate, the social fallout could be quite significant. I would like the Minister to consider the consequences for children—the potential detrimental consequences for their emotional and mental wellbeing, as well as their educational outcomes. There is little point in trying to be penny wise and pound foolish. The bereaved need time, which varies from person to person, to emerge from the fog of bewilderment, shock and disbelief, as well as the pain of grief, that the loss of a loved one brings with it, and how much worse is that for children? With cash payments being limited to 18 months, grief has been given a sell-by date. If only grief were like that.

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