GRIEVING parents in North Ayrshire who lose a child will no longer pay burial or cremation fees after they were abolished.

In an agreement which will remove some of the financial burden from devastated families the Scottish Government and COSLA have agreed to remove all local authority charges for child burials and cremations.

While most local authorities have already removed their fees, North Ayrshire Council only offer free burials and cremations for children aged 16 and under.

Under the new legislation that age will be extended to any child aged up to 18 who passes away.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council, said: “We welcome this announcement from COSLA and the Scottish Government.

“Currently, we do not charge burial fees for those aged under 16. However, with the introduction of this new central funding allocation, we will work with both authorities to see how we can extend this offer to those aged under 18.”

The new commitment – which is supported by Scottish Government funding – will see the removal of fees across all areas of the country.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance said: “The death of a child is one of the most tragic experiences that anyone can go through.

“At such difficult times, it is important that we look to support parents and families. We have been actively looking for some time at ways in which we can further support bereaved parents in Scotland with funeral costs.

Cllr Elena Whitham, COSLA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said: “It is a truly awful to have to manage the burden of a funeral or cremation for a child.

“We are acutely aware that none of us plan for the financial costs because we don’t expect it to happen to our families.

“We are pleased to work together with the Scottish Government to ensure that all local authorities can fully commit to removing their charges for the burial or cremation of those aged under 18.”