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Written Statements

Wednesday 8 July 2015


Charter for Budget Responsibility

The First Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): Today I have published a draft updated “Charter for Budget Responsibility”, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. It sets out a new fiscal framework to entrench a commitment to reach surplus and maintain it in normal times.

The draft charter includes modified guidance to the Office for Budget Responsibility and has been published in line with section 6(4) of the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act. This requires that if the Treasury proposes to modify the guidance to the Office for Budget Responsibility included in the charter, a draft of the modified guidance must be published at least 28 days before the modified charter is laid before Parliament. The updated charter will be laid before Parliament, and a debate and vote scheduled, in the autumn of 2015.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements


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Cremation Regulation

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Family Justice (Caroline Dinenage): On 1 June 2015 David Jenkins published his report into the way infant cremations were carried out at Emstrey crematorium in Shropshire between 1996 and 2012. The report established that during this time the crematorium failed to obtain ashes to return to families after the cremation of a baby or stillborn child.

In addition, in Scotland in 2014 Lord Bonomy’s Infant Cremation Commission (ICC) reported that parents had in some cases been incorrectly told that there had been, or would be, no ashes from their infants’ cremations.

Scotland has already done much work in response to the ICC’s report. The Emstrey report, however, made several recommendations for Government. It also recommended that Government consider the ICC’s recommendations.

I am clear that bereaved parents should not have to experience the additional grief that those affected by the issues in Emstrey have faced. I am sadly aware of other bereaved families having had similar experiences elsewhere in England.

I am determined that the Government should do what they can to make sure that following a cremation infant ashes are returned to bereaved families.

We are considering the Emstrey and ICC recommendations in depth and will consult on proposals for a number of changes to the relevant legislation, the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, later this year.