Today’s news that the Scottish National Party (SNP) Government and COSLA will work to scrap all council charges for child burials and cremations has been warmly welcomed by campaigners and SNP politicians at both Westminster and Holyrood.
The The Scottish Government has committed £500,000 to ensure, with immediate effect, that no local authority in Scotland will charge for burial or cremation of children under 18.
Michael McGuire from Fort William lost his baby son Kyle almost a decade ago and because of the financial burden of paying for funeral costs had to return to work just three days after laying his son to rest. For the past nine years Mr McGuire has volunteered with Simpsons Memory Box Appeal (SiMBA), a charity providing support to parents who lose a child.
Mr McGuire raised concerns with Kate Forbes MSPwho made several representations to the SNP Government on his behalf, calling for action to support bereaved families.
Reacting to today’s announcement, Michael McGuire said:
“I cannot describe how relieved as a bereaved parent this makes me feel. At a time of such harrowing pain, burial fees should be the last thing to worry about.
“I'm delighted that our Government have made this announcement which will have a far reaching impact on families all over Scotland.
“For myself and all my friends that represent our children, this is a special day.”
Kate Forbes MSP added:
“Losing a child is a devastating experience for families, and as a society we have a duty to support them through such a difficult time. Any steps to remove financial burden upon them to make things that bit easier is a welcome step.
“Today’s announcement is the right thing to do, putting families first.”
Patricia Gibson MP commented:
“When a parent suffers the loss of a child, the last thing they should be worrying about is whether they can afford burial fees. So this is a very welcome step by the SNP Government to scrap burial and cremation fees for under 18s.
“The announcement follows news that the SNP Government will invest an additional £3 million for when the new Scottish Funeral Expense Assistance fund starts in 2019, extending eligibility to approximately 2,000 more people than under the current Westminster system.
“SNP MPs will continue to raise the issues associated with funeral poverty. I’m delighted to see the SNP Government putting new powers to good use to help those who are grieving or in financial distress.”