Ask your MP to sign our open letter: instructions
Asking your MP to sign our open letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights will support grieving children. Thank you for your support around this issue.
How to find your MP’s contact details:
Find your MP’s email address. Then cut and paste the text below into an email to them, replacing the sections in italics with your own text.
If you get a reply and are happy to share it with us at the Childhood Bereavement Network, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copy and paste the following text in an email to your MP:
Dear [Insert name of your MP]
As someone who lives at [insert your address] in your constituency I am writing to you to ask for your help in ensuring there is a comprehensive resolution of the question of what support should be given to children when one of their cohabiting parents dies.
[Insert your reason for supporting change, or delete this sentence. Also refer here to any previous correspondence you have had with them on this issue]
The support given to the children of cohabiting parents in the event that one of their parents dies has been discussed in parliament and by our courts for several years. In the event of their untimely death, parents build up their surviving family’s entitlement to these benefits, currently worth around £10,000, through their National Insurance contributions. However, the payments are only made to their surviving partner if the parents were married to one another or in a civil partnership. Those who were living together – even for many years – are not eligible, meaning that their children miss out on vital support. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that over 3,000 children have faced the double hit of their parent’s death, and then their surviving parent being ineligible for this support.
The High Court ruled on 7 February 2020 that denying higher rate Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) to unmarried, cohabiting parents breached their and their children’s human rights. This followed a similar ruling made by the Supreme Court in August 2018 in relation to the old-style Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA). The Courts’ rulings establish the principle that bereaved children should not be disadvantaged because of their parents’ marital status. The Prime Minister has described the ineligibility as ‘an injustice’ on 12 February 2020, and the Government has said that it will bring forward a remedial order to put the situation right. But as yet no action to resolve this matter has been taken, and each day of delay, at least eight more newly bereaved children are affected.
I understand that the Government will shortly lay a proposal for a draft remedial order, which will be scrutinised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) in parliament. I would be grateful if you as my MP could add your name to the open letter to the JCHR about the principles which should govern a resolution of this matter. If these principles are not met, it is likely there would be prolonged distress for up to 40,000 already grieving families across the UK, many of whom are likely to raise this issue in person with their MP, and which may result in further legal challenges to the government.
Your signature along with those of other colleagues across the house, charities working with these families and those interested in this issue in the public realm would help show the widespread consensus on how and why this matter should finally be addressed. Please add your support to help level up for this vulnerable group of children by the 18th June 2021, by emailing email@example.com to indicate your willingness to sign.
For more information on this issue, please visit http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/campaigns/fairer-welfare-…