Lib Dems pledge to spend £440 million a year on support for bereaved families

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to reverse Tory cuts and spend £440 million a year on supporting widows and bereaved children during their toughest moments.

The party said it would aim to double funding for Bereavement Support Payments, benefits which are designed to help with the financial impact of losing a partner, by 2028/29.

Sir Ed Davey, who has opened up about his personal experience of losing both parents at a young age, branded current provisions as “heartless and short-sighted”.

The party leader lost his father to cancer when he was just four-years-old, and his mother to illness as a teenager.

Sir Ed said his plans will restore support for families who lose a loved one, by extending the length of time bereaved families receive monthly support payments.

Currently, a bereaved family receives a lump sum of up to £3,500, followed by a monthly payment of up to £350 for 18 months.

Sir Ed said: “Losing a parent or partner is one of the toughest moments it is possible for anyone to experience. Having lost both of my parents growing up, I understand just how important it is to have a proper safety net.

“The Conservative Government’s cuts to support payments were heartless and short-sighted, making it harder for families and children who have lost someone.

“Rishi Sunak’s government has failed to ensure families are not left struggling to pay the bills at such a difficult period of time.

“The Liberal Democrats would treat families and children who lose a loved one with dignity and provide the support they deserve.”

In February 2023, the Government extended eligibility for bereavement support payment and widowed parent’s allowance to cohabiting parents with dependent children.