Ashes ‘withheld’ from families

Families have been told by some local authorities that they cannot be given ashes if they do not pay for a private funeral, according to a Sunday Times investigation.

The newspaper recorded a conversation with an “official” from Glasgow City Council who repeatedly said that families did not have a right to the ashes, which instead “would be disposed of in the council-owned crematorium garden”.

Other councils in Scotland and London were also cited by the paper as having “similar restrictions”, which the Sunday Times called “an apparent ploy to reduce demand for paupers’ funerals”. Labour’s Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work & Pensions Select Committee, said the practice “would make most people sick to the pit of their stomach”.

Glasgow City Council has responded that it does not have such a policy, and that the issue would be clarified with staff.

The council added: “Where [the person who should receive the ashes] is clear, we can and do pass remains into the care of family members.”

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