The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement, Sir John Hayes MP, has sent the following letter to the Prime Minister following a meeting of the APPG on 27th April 2021.
The letter is below:
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
28 April 2021
Dear Prime Minister,
I write in my capacity as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement, on behalf of its members within both Houses of Parliament and the wider funeral and death care sector across the UK, through the Death Management Advisory Group (DMAG).
Many people across England have been critical of the restriction on 30 mourners for a funeral which remains in place until at least 17 May and possibly longer. I am concerned that as other sectors of the economy reopen and as larger events begin to take place again, that this cap on mourners is unnecessary and unfair on those wishing to attend the funeral of a loved one.
On behalf of the funeral and death care sector, I would seek a modest and reasoned approach to lifting the 30-mourner limit, as has happened in Wales and Northern Ireland. The cap on mourners could if necessary be replaced in favour of venues being able to accommodate mourners up to 25% capacity for example, which would allow more people to attend a service inside a church or crematorium. Equally providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test could be another way to ensure more attendees at a funeral.
I would urge the Government to relax the rule of 30 funeral mourners in England in any way possible over the coming weeks. The APPG is confident, mindful of the suggestions above, this could be done without jeopardy.
The funeral sector stands ready to support the Government in this effort and so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, as every day that passes means the grief of loss being coupled to the added distress of limiting final farewells.
Rt Hon Sir John Hayes MP