Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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The costs that come with burying or cremating a loved one are landing a not insignificant number of families in severe hardship.


The costs that come with burying or cremating a loved one are landing a not insignificant number of families in severe hardship.

One lady visiting my surgery told me she can’t even afford to redeem her loved one’s ashes from the undertaker.

While public grants are supposed to cover the costs of a hearse, a minister and a coffin, it seems that in some cases they fail to do so and, in others, they just don’t stretch far enough to cover the full list of charges grieving families are asked to pay.

It was suggested at the most recent meeting of groups helping to feed Birkenhead’s hungry that when people arrange for the body of their deceased friend or relative to be collected, or when the death is registered, they should be given a leaflet which outlines the grants available to them and, if applicable, which funeral companies charge minimum fees and which churches offer funerals at minimal or no cost.

I have, therefore, written to each of Birkenhead’s funeral directors asking whether they charge a minimum fee to families on low incomes, and which services does this fee cover. I will share any information they are able to provide on this score with the Feeding Birkenhead campaign and on my website.

But I am anxious to pursue this matter in Parliament so we can gain a better idea of whether the national policy designed to cover the costs associated with funerals or cremations is doing what it says on the tin, and if not, by how far does it fall short. I hope the Work and Pensions Committee, which I chair, will be looking at this in more detail.

Might you, therefore, contact me please on or at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, if you would like to share your experience of the system?

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