Thursday 4 February 2021 8:55 am

MPs back bereavement campaign to ensure grieving families do not ‘slip through the net’

Dozens of MPs have called on the government to improve treatment for grieving families by refining the process of registering a loved one’s death.

The plea came during a debate in the House of Commons on the campaign for a cross-industry bereavement standard, where ministers promised to consider the demands of supporters.

More than 91,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the government to introduce new standards and at least 50 MPs have tabled a similar Early Day Motion.

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, instigated Wednesday’s debate.

Morris said: “Currently, we lack cross-government coordination and focus.

“Issues of bereavement run across several departments – health, work and pensions, education, justice and business.

“We need a clear ministerial lead on bereavement to ensure coordination across departments, otherwise bereaved families will continue to slip through the net.”

Calls for clarity

More than 600,000 people die every year in the UK and there is no approved process for closing or transferring accounts when this happens.

Individuals have an average of 20 utility, broadband and other subscriptions which need to be closed after death and the process can take months.

The bereavement standard would speed up end-of-life account closures and oblige service providers to create dedicated contact centres for grieving customers.

The campaign, which also calls for digital death certificates, is backed by several charities including Marie Curie and the Good Grief Trust.

Vicky Wilson, co-founder of the Bereavement Standard campaign, said: “With the death toll from the pandemic standing at more than 100,000 people, it is clear that more needs to be done to ease the stress on families who have lost loved ones. 

“Our discussions with the government and regulators have been positive so far but have shown that no department is able to consider all of the issues, because no minister is entirely in charge of all the issues.”