POLITICS

PMQs: Jeremy Corbyn Demands Theresa May Scrap Child Funeral Charges

PM says it's up to councils to foot the costs.

02/11/2016 16:03 | Updated 03 November 2016

Jeremy Corbyn today demanded Theresa May scrap child funeral charges.

The Labour leader said mourning parents should not be smacked with a bill while also dealing with the grief of losing a child.

He claimed a scheme to cover the costs billed by councils would cost £10m a year - “a very small proportion of government expenditure”. 

Corbyn added that the money would ensure those going through “the horror of laying a child to rest” could do so without being handed an invoice immediately after. 

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, he also praised Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who recently revealed her anguish at not being able to bury her eight-year-old son who was killed in a road accident in 1989.

“No one ever expects to bury their child,” she told the Daily Mirror. “You can’t cope with the emotion of the loss, let alone budget for it.”

Matthew Horwood via Getty Images
Carolyn Harris

But Corbyn’s plea was rejected by Theresa May, who told MPs on Wednesday that it was up to councils to decide whether they could foot the costs themselves. 

She said there was already some help given to low-income parents through the Social Fund for Funeral Expenses.

The PM said while it was “of course difficult for anybody when they have to go through the tragedy of losing a child” to then be hit with a bill by the council, local authorities should have more money to foot the costs themselves.

She said the “extra revenues”, such as business rates, meant the power was in the hands of councils.

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