CHARGES for all child burials and cremations in West Dunbartonshire have been scrapped by councillors.

The fees for residents and non-residents under the age of 18 were approved at a committee meeting last week, having been previously agreed by the Scottish Government and council umbrella body Cosla.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s infrastructure, regeneration and economic development (IRED) committee agreed that fees for interment, lair purchase, headstone permits and cremations would all be removed.

The council already provides free burials and cremations for children under 16 and for residents of West Dunbartonshire.

But until now, families have had to purchase lairs for burials – while people living outside West Dunbartonshire were charged £425.

A report to the committee stated: “The implementation of this policy would help to minimise the large sudden costs faced by families that are dealing with the devastating impact of losing a child.”

Council officials said there were an average of 11 child burials and five child cremations in the area each year, and four of those are non-residential families.

The Scottish Government have committed funding of £310,000 per year to remove charges across Scotland.

Council leader Jonathan McColl told the committee: “I think most of us, if not all of us, have been in a situation where someone has had to use our child burial service.

“We know the quality of that service, and that’s reflected by the number of people we get coming to us.

“I’m absolutely delighted we are able to offer this. It’s something I was very, very pleased I was able to vote for at COSLA.

When the national approach was announced in May, Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for communities, social security and equalities, 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 agree with COSLA that no family should have to pay to bury or cremate their child.”