Pressure for child funeral fund

Carolyn Harris MP

Pressure has been mounting for a Children’s Funeral Fund to be extended to Northern Ireland’s bereaved parents.

During a debate in the House of Commons last month, funeral poverty campaigner Carolyn Harris MP noted that bereaved parents in Northern Ireland are the only parents in the UK without access to a Children’s Funeral Fund.

The Swansea East MP claimed that, without a functioning government in Stormont, Northern Irish families would remain ‘disadvantaged’ unless the UK Government takes action.

While the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Simon Hoare said in response that both the DUP and Sinn Fein “have the fate of devolution in their hands” and must “step up to the plate damn soon”, the minister rejected calls to legislate directly for a Northern Irish Child Funeral Fund.

Four out of the 11 local authorities in Northern Ireland have taken action locally to plug the national policy gap, waiving burial and cremation fees for children.

In 2016, there were almost 200 infant deaths and stillbirths registered in Northern Ireland.

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