Measures aimed at creating a modern and comprehensive framework for burials and cremations are to be examined by two Scottish Parliament committees.
The Health and Sport Committee and the Local Government and Regeneration Committee will both scrutinise the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill, each looking at different aspects of the Bill.
Many measures within the Bill are rooted in recommendations made by the Infant Cremation Commission, which was created in response to practices at some crematoriums in Scotland. The Health and Sport Committee are focusing on the measures in the Bill concerning pregnancy loss, still birth and infant loss and want to hear from all of those who may have been affected as to whether the measures are fit for purpose.
Health and Sport Committee Convener, Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“The loss of a much longed for and loved child is a tragedy that few of us can comprehend. The fact that for too many people this loss may have been compounded by confusion and inconsistency around cremation and burial is unacceptable.
“The Bill before us rightly aims to address these inconsistencies. But we want to know if these measures achieve this. We realise for many that this is a painful subject, but only by hearing from those who have been directly affected can we be sure the Bill makes real improvements to the current system.”
The Bill also seeks to introduce regulation of funeral directors. The Local Government and Regeneration Committee will explore the appropriateness of the measures within the Bill as well as looking at the extent to which the Bill will address the issue of funeral costs.
Local Government and Regeneration Committee Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“The Bill before us seeks to create a modern framework which better serves the needs of the people of Scotland. But for many people the issue of funeral costs can be an unwelcome burden at an extremely difficult time.
“The regulation of funeral directors is one aspect which is introduced by the Bill. We want to know what difference this regulation will make and whether this will make a difference to funeral costs across the country”.
Both Committees have today launched calls for views and are asking all those with an interest, or those affected by issues addressed within the Bill, to get in touch.
The Infant Cremation Commission was established in 2013 following the distressing uncertainty many parents faced as a result of practices at some crematoriums in Scotland.
A recent report by Citizens Advice Scotland revealed that there was a “postcode lottery” in relation burial or cremation costs in Scotland with local authorities charging widely ranging fees.