Grieving families will no longer have to cover burial or cremation costs when a child dies under a new Government scheme that will come into effect next month.

Each year an estimated 3,800 children under the age of 18 die, with a further 2,700 stillbirths.

The Children's Funeral Fund aims to ensure local authorities and funeral directors in England waive fees for burials or cremations - with the Government picking up the bill.

After being announced in April 2018, the Prime Minister came under growing pressure in February this year to end delays to the scheme, which will now start on July 23, the Ministry of Justice has announced.

Theresa May said: "At a time of such unimaginable loss, no grieving parent should be faced with the stress and worry of finding the money to cover the costs of their child's funeral.

"I hope the Children's Funeral Fund will bring an end to this and give families some comfort and support when they need it most."

The cross-party campaign to waive child burial fees was spearheaded by Labour MP Carolyn Harris who needed a loan to bury her eight-year-old son Martin after he was killed in a car accident in 1989.

Mrs May paid tribute to Ms Harris and "all those who have campaigned with such devotion and dignity on this issue".

The Government said the scheme aims to reduce the financial burden for families by reimbursing burial and cremation authorities and funeral directors directly.

Available regardless of the family's income, residency or nationality, it will also include a £300 contribution towards the cost of a coffin.

Regulations will be laid in Parliament on Monday by Justice Minister, Edward Argar, who said that the "loss of a child is a tragedy which no parent can prepare for".

"While nothing can ever remove the pain that bereaved families experience, this Government is determined to do everything in its power to ease the burden on them, which is why, in line with the Prime Minister's pledge, I have developed the scheme we are announcing today," he said.

"The Children's Funeral Fund will provide bereaved parents with much-needed support and I am proud to have worked alongside such dedicated campaigners to make this important scheme a reality."

Department of Work and Pensions minister, Will Quince, said that as a bereaved parent he knows the impact the Children's Funeral Fund will have.

"No one should ever have to endure the loss of a child and thanks to this scheme grieving families will now be spared the burden of meeting funeral costs," he said.

"We want to ensure everyone is able to say goodbye to their child with love and dignity without the added fear of how they are going to pay for it."

David Collingwood, director of funerals at the Co-op, hailed the new fund as a "positive step" in helping more parents across England.

"Whilst this fund will allow a capped fee towards a coffin, there are other costs to cover," he said, highlighting that the Co-op has "led the way" in offering its services for free when children die under the age of 18.

"These include vehicles, transfers and arrangements, which we feel should be included within the cap to avoid any confusion."

Councillor Simon Blackburn, from the Local Government Association, said the fund will "help meet the essential costs associated with burial and cremation, at a time when councils face severe funding pressures".