Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Mortonhall baby ashes: Families to be offered settlement

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Media captionSolicitors representing the families have helped develop the proposed settlement scheme

Families who have been affected by the baby ashes scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium will be offered settlements of up to £4,000 by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The local authority has decided on the proposed settlement scheme with solicitors representing families.

It provides for payments of between £1,000 and £4,000, plus legal expenses.

The scandal involved families whose children's remains were disposed of without their knowledge.

It first emerged at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh where more than 250 families were believed to have been affected.

Staff at the crematorium buried baby ashes in secret and parents were told there were no ashes left when young babies were cremated.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Solicitors representing the families have helped develop the proposed settlement scheme

The practice at the crematorium is thought to have been in place from its opening in 1967 until a change of management in 2011.

The Mortonhall Settlement report which outlines the compensation scheme will go before the council on 5 February.

'Solidarity and compassion'

Thompsons Solicitors, which represents 129 clients, helped develop the scheme.

The offer needs the approval of councillors.

Chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, Sue Bruce, said: "The events of the past two years have understandably been distressing for families affected by the events at Mortonhall Crematorium.

"The council is taking forward all the recommendations made by Dame Elish Angiolini in her report, and will ensure nothing like this happens ever again."

Image copyright Edinburgh Council
Image caption Parents will decide which design will be chosen for a permanent memorial garden

Meanwhile, draft designs for permanent Mortonhall memorials have been revealed.

Two memorials are being proposed after consultation with parents.

One will be within the grounds of Mortonhall Crematorium and the other will be at a location still to be identified in the city.

The Meadows and the Botanic Gardens are among the locations being considered.

Some families had strongly expressed that they did not wish to return to Mortonhall.

'Remarkable courage'

Parents will decide which designs are chosen with the aim to have the memorials completed by the autumn.

Patrick McGuire, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: "In addition to the grief they face over the loss of their children the families also have to bear the deep upset caused by practices at the crematorium.

"Despite this they have shown remarkable courage and resolve to make the Scottish public aware about what had gone on."

Image caption Mortonhall crematorium staff told parents there would be no ashes

He added: "As a group the Mortonhall parents have displayed great solidarity and compassion to each other and it is largely through their efforts that we now have wider investigations into events at crematoria throughout Scotland.

"The Mortonhall families, through their tenacity and decency, have brought us to where we are today.

"In doing so they have ensured that in the future no other families will have to suffer distress due to unacceptable practices at our crematoria."

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