The boroughs of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth have taken action to tackle funeral poverty by scrapping all cremation fees charged for children.
The boroughs also recently agreed to offer cremations at a reduced cost for those suffering from funeral poverty, following proposals put forward by Labour councillor, Candida Jones.
Simon Hogg, Leader of Wandsworth Labour, said: “It’s right that these fees have been removed. It’s terrible to think of a parent having to bury their child. They shouldn’t face the added anxiety of how to pay for the funeral.
“The average cost of a funeral in Wandsworth is now more than £3,000. This can be hard to bear for some families. It’s positive that this proposal will help them.”
From January next year all cremation fees charged by the 3 London Councils will be scrapped for children.
The new scheme builds on earlier efforts from Wandsworth Labour to bring in reduced crematorium fees. This year, for the first time, early-morning cremations have been available at a reduced cost of £267, rather than the full £555 previously charged.
Funeral poverty is on the rise. Last year, the amount owed by people who could not afford to pay for their funerals in the UK was £147m, rising this year to an estimated £160m. Of those unable to pay for their funerals, an average of £1,318 was owed in 2016, rising to £1,601 last year.
According to Simon Hogg “Councils get less and less money from the government to provide services. Some councils have had to increase charges to help make ends meet. I’m pleased that Labour has been able to steer Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton in a different, more compassionate direction.”