I’ve definitely never had a week quite like this in Westminster. It’s been extraordinary, if bittersweet.
After nearly 3 years since I first called on Theresa May to introduce a Children’s Funeral Fund, we finally got the news that the government have brought forward the necessary legislation to make this provision a reality. Many constituents will know that I started this campaign following the death of my son, Martin, 30 years ago this summer. Now, thanks to this fund, bereaved parents across the whole of the UK will no longer have to worry about finding the money to cover the cost of their child’s funeral. At the worst possible time in any parent’s life, this will give people the time they need to grieve, rather than additional cause to worry needlessly.
This is an important step forward for bereaved parents everywhere and I am so pleased that this fund – Martin’s Fund – will now be available right across the UK from the end of July. Of course, I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government were the first to hear our calls for this fund to be established and I would like to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who has helped ensure we keep the pressure on the government to do likewise.
You can view the Point of Order I raised in the House of Commons about the Children’s Funeral Fund here: https://twitter.com/carolynharris24/status/1146399124780195846.
Earlier this week, I was also really pleased to attend the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary since the establishment of South Wales Police. His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, attended the event and it was brilliant to join with colleagues from across South Wales to say thank you to our hard-working and brave policemen and women for the unstinting support they give to our communities day-in, day-out. I’d like to pay special tribute to South Wales Police’s Swansea division who work so hard to keep us safe.
Back in Westminster, I continued to hold the government to account on the issues surrounding problem gambling by asking an important question to ministers from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. I welcome the move the government has made this week that will mean the “big 5” gambling companies will begin to pay towards treatment and support services for problem gamblers. Given what we know about the gambling industry’s unwillingness to act voluntarily though, I pressed ministers on the need to adopt a mandatory levy to guarantee this support for the victims of gambling. This would be in line with the polluter pays principle and I believe it is the right thing to do.
On a slightly different note, also on Thursday I took the opportunity to speak in an important debate in Parliament on the issue of assisted dying. This is, of course, an incredibly sensitive issue with many differing opinions on both sides of the debate. While I believe that all life is sacred, I am also a strong advocate for an individuals’ right to choose, particularly if their quality of life is being severely worsened by the illness they have. Our current laws put a significant amount of pressure on the families of people living with terminal illnesses which I believe is, in many instances, completely unfair. I believe that if the law allowed assisted dying in this country, enabling people to choose to die surrounded by their loved ones in a familiar environment, that would bring comfort and solace to many people. I hope the government bring forward legislation to legally allow people across the UK to have this choice.
As you can tell, it’s been quite the week all in all and, of course, I’ve got a busy schedule back in the constituency across the weekend. As ever, if you’d like to get in touch to raise any issues or concerns with me as your local MP, please do call my constituency office on 01792 462054 or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org.