Posted on Wednesday 1 May 2019

in News

CLIC Sargent join forces with the Co-op, charities and MPs to demand government take action on Children Funeral Fund promise

CLIC Sargent has joined forces with the Co-op and over 50 charities and MPs in a call to get the government to take action on their pledge to create a Children’s Funeral Fund.

Carolyn Harris MP, whose own son Martin died at eight-years-old, is due to debate in Parliament this evening (Wednesday 1 May) asking the government why they have not implemented the fund which was made government policy back in March 2018.

Houses of Parliament

At CLIC Sargent, we stand with Carolyn Harris MP and call on the government to act and put their policy into practice. How many more families have to lose their child and pay thousands of pounds plunging them further into debt before the Government take action? End the delay and act now.

Clare Laxton, Associate Director of Policy & Influencing at CLIC Sargent

Clare Laxton, Associate Director of Policy and Influencing, said: “It’s been over a year since the Prime Minister announced the creation of a Children’s Funeral Fund and nothing has happened. This delay on implementing government policy has meant that an estimated 230 children have died from cancer during this time, and their families, already going through every parent’s worst nightmare, could have paid out nearly £1 million in funeral costs.

“At CLIC Sargent, we stand with Carolyn Harris MP and call on the government to act and put their policy into practice. How many more families have to lose their child and pay thousands of pounds plunging them further into debt before the government take action? End the delay and act now.”

Letter to the Prime Minister

CLIC Sargent have created an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May which has been signed by over 50 cross-party MPs and charities:

Open Letter

Dear Prime Minister,

It’s been over a year since you promised that parents whose child had died would no longer be plunged into debt or face the worry about how they were going to pay for their child’s funeral. Following a tireless campaign led by Carolyn Harris MP, whose son Martin died at eight-years-old, and supported by CLIC Sargent and the Co-op, you announced in March 2018 that the Government would set up a Children’s Funeral Fund to cover costs for bereaved families. But nothing has happened and desperate families are still paying huge amounts to bury their child. Today (1st May) Carolyn will be raising the issue in a debate in Parliament and asking the Government how long bereaved families have to wait for the support they were promised.

In this time an estimated 4,700 children have died. With the average funeral costing £4,000, the failure so far, to deliver on the government’s promise will could have cost families up to an estimated £18 million on funeral costs in the past year.

Cancer is the most common cause of death by disease for children aged 1 to 15 years. In the time since the Fund was announced, around 230 children will have died from cancer in the UK. The affected families could have paid out nearly £1 million in funeral costs even though a Children’s Funeral Fund is Government policy. Every day that this is delayed means more hardship and worry for parents already facing the devastation of losing their child.

We know that the Government has had other pressing matters to deal with but no parent should have to rely on loans or their friends and family clubbing together to pay for their child’s funeral. One mum whose baby died from cancer said that making your child’s funeral special is so important because it’s the last thing that you can do for your child because they’ll never have a prom, wedding or any other celebration.

This fund is so sorely needed as the Government clearly agreed so our simple question is – why has nothing happened? The longer implementing this Government policy is delayed the more families will have to pay through the pain. No family should have to pay to bury their child, together we urge you to end this delay and act now.


Carolyn Harris MP (Lab, Swansea East)
Kate Lee, CEO, CLIC Sargent
Paul Gerrard, Director of Campaigns and Public Affairs, the Co-op
Sir David Amess MP (Con, Southend West)
Tonia Antoniazzi MP (Lab, Gower)
Chris Bryant MP (Lab, Rhondda)
Jenny Chapman MP (Lab, Darlington)
Tracey Crouch MP (Con, Chatham and Aylesford)
Judith Cummins MP (Lab, Bradford South)
Chris Davies MP (Con, Brecon and Radnorshire)
David T C Davies MP (Con, Monmouth)
Iain Duncan-Smith MP (Con, Chingford and Woodford Green)
Susan Elan Jones MP (Lab, Clwyd South)
Chris Elmore MP (Lab, Ogmore)
Neil Gray MP (SNP, Airdrie and Shotts)
David Hanson MP (Lab, Delyn)
Sharon Hodgson MP (Lab, Washington and Sunderland West)
Gerald Jones MP (Lab, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
Stephen Kinnock MP (Lab, Aberavon)
Ben Lake MP (PC, Ceredigion)
Tim Loughton MP (Con, East Worthing and Shoreham)
Jessica Morden MP (Lab, Newport East)
Albert Owen MP (Lab, Ynys Môn)
Jess Phillips MP (Lab, Birmingham Yardley)
Paula Sherriff MP (Lab, Dewsbury)
Karin Smyth MP (Lab, Bristol South)
Nick Smith MP (Lab, Blaenau Gwent)
Jo Stevens MP (Lab, Cardiff Central)
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP (Lab, Torfaen)
Jon Arnold, Chief Executive, Tiny Tickers
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, Action for Children
Henny Braund, Chief Executive, Anthony Nolan
Jack Broadley, Chief Executive, Baggy Trousers UK
Zillah Bingley, Chief Executive, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity
Kate Collins, Chief Executive, Teenage Cancer Trust
Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive, Brain Tumour Research
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive, Together for Short Lives
Frank Fletcher, Chief Executive, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
Roger Gale, Chief Executive, Child Funeral Charity
Ashley Gamble, Chief Executive, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Imam
Will Jones, Chief Executive, Brainstrust
Harun Khan, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain.
Jon Levett, Chief Executive, National Association of Funeral Directors
Chris Lewis, Founder, Chris’ Cancer Community
Sarah Lindsell, CEO, The Brain Tumour Charity
Dhivya O’Connor, Chief Executive, Children with Cancer UK
Blair Papwoth, Chief Executive, SimPal
Stephen Richards, Chief Executive, Solving Kids’ Cancer
Zack Pemberton-Whitely, Patient Advocacy Director, Leukaemia Care
Steven Wibberley, Chief Executive, Cruse Bereavement Care

Notes to editors

For more information about CLIC Sargent, an interview or images, please contact Jack Wilson on 020 8752 2833 or Out of hours contact 08448 481189.

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK. 
About CLIC Sargent 
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit 
Note to sub-editors 
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above. 


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