Leading celebrant welcomes Government move to end child burial fees

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Apr 2018

Britain's leading professional celebrant, Barton-based Philip Spicksley, has welcomed the Government's decision to end fees for child burials. 

Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed the establishment of a Children’s Fund, which will now cover costs.

Members of the Association of Independent Celebrants, which the former Grimsby police inspector chairs, are already advised not to charge for child funeral or burial services.

“The funeral industry will welcome the announcement because it will give a clear indication to the public as to what is to be charged, taking away any extra items such as flowers and horse drawn hearses, all children will be treated to the same dignified funeral," he said.

Mr Spicksley said both he and fellow members have long been concerned by the discrepancies that have existed with regards to paying for the burial of children for those families who cannot afford fees.

For the last two years the AOIC has supported the Child Funeral Charity, which petitioned for change while assisting families affected.

“I have been reliably informed of cases where children have been laid in mortuaries in circumstances where the parents are unable to pay fees,” Mr Spicksley said. “This mainly hits families where the parents are in work but on low wages and therefore unable to obtain a death or bereavement grant from the DHSS.”

He explained that, while all major funeral director firms do not charge for child funerals, a small number of independent funeral directors do make a charge.

“The problems really arise when a council or crematorium makes a charge for cremation fees or burial fees and these can vary depending on the age of a child,” said Mr Spicksley.

Changes follow a campaign spearheaded by an MP who needed a loan to bury her eight-year-old son after he was killed in a car accident. Carolyn Harris, who represents Swansea East at Westminster, had called on the Government to cover the costs of burials and cremations to help parents struggling to pay for their child's funeral.

"The Government announcement has sent a message to the profession and that is to be welcomed," he said.

“The AOIC urges the Government to press ahead with this change in legislation, which will benefit all families."

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