HC Deb 08 December 1982 vol 33 cc844-5
19. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now introduce legislation to remove the current differences in the burial costs of children as between cemeteries in different local authority areas.

Mr. King

No, Sir. The Local Government Act 1972 gives local authorities discretion to determine their own cemetery charges, and I have no proposal to change that arrangement.

Mr. Janner

Does not the Minister accept that, at a most anguished time for parents, they are often faced with extremely heavy charges for burying their children? Is he not aware that it adds to their misery to find that the costs for people living next door may be very much less? Does he not feel that the Government should encourage local authorities to harmonise charges to try to assist parents when they are most in need of help?

Mr. King

I shall consider the point that the hon. and learned Gentleman makes. This is a matter that should be determined by individual local authorities in relation to the circumstances of the area. The hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned a tragic situation. I do not think that this is the most appropriate way to tackle it.