Another Scots council scraps child burial fees after pressure

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Perth and Kinross Council is set to abolish burial fees for children following pressure to ease the burden on bereaved families after charges were scrapped in Wales and England.

The council is currently one of eight in Scotland that will be the last parts of the UK where parents are asked by their local authority to pay in order to bury their child.

Charges in Perth and Kinross are up to £144 for a child between the ages of two and 15, rising to £918 for people 16 and over.

READ MORE: Scots councils urged to end funeral charge for children
Last month, East Lothian became the first Scottish local authority to scrap its burial fees for children following Theresa May's announcement that the practice would stop across England.

The proposal is expected to be rubber-stamped by councillors on Wednesday. If approved, council bosses in Perth will be among the first in the country to waive fees for youngsters under the age of 18.

A council spokeswoman said: “The move is intended to support families at a difficult time in their lives, and will be implemented immediately if the environment and infrastructure committee gives its go ahead.”

Committee convener, Conservative councillor Angus Forbes, added: “The council is committed to treating all families who need to use our bereavement services with dignity and compassion.

“While thankfully only a small number of the funerals the team supports each year are for people under the age of 18, this proposal demonstrates our sympathy for families who have to deal with this difficult situation.”

READ MORE: Plea to Nicola Sturgeon over child burial fees in Scotland
Of the remaining seven local authorities, Dundee charges the highest interment fees for children, with the burial of a child between the ages of two and 11 costing up to £408, with the price rising to £827 for children over the age of 12.

The decision by Perth and Kinross was welcomed by Tory MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife Alexander Stewart.

He said: “No family going through such a traumatic experience should have to worry about funeral costs for their youngsters and this is why I have regularly called for all councils across Scotland who aren’t doing so at the moment, to observe and follow the lead of the Prime Minister’s intervention to scrap burial fees in England for parents who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement in April followed a campaign by Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East, who was forced to take out a £700 loan and get donations from neighbours after her son Martin was killed in a road accident in 1998.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said a “new funeral expense” plan will be introduced next year.

“We have engaged with local authorities, the funeral sector and other services to find ways to provide more affordable funerals and we will continue to support innovative measures to address the costs.

“We note this announcement from the UK government. We are already actively considering ways to further support families in Scotland suffering the bereavement of a child.”

READ MORE: £500k to end child burial fees in Scotland is 'chicken feed'