London: The UK government has begun a review of the country's funeral facilities following a long-standing demand of Hindus and Sikhs that crematoriums are often too small and not well equipped to meet their needs.
UK Chancellor George Osborne announced the review in the House of Commons following representations from Hindu and Sikh community leaders.
"Over the past year a number of British Hindus and Sikhs have raised with me their concerns about cremation facilities for their communities.
"They've told me that often the facilities are not large enough for everyone from the community to pay their respects and don't always pay enough regard to cultural sensitivities," Osborne said, announcing that his summer Budget will mark the starting point of the review.
"So this budget announces a review into these facilities. We want to know more about concerns people from all faiths have about these facilities, so we can do more to ensure everybody can mark the passing of their loved ones appropriately.
"That's why we have launched this consultation and I'd urge everyone to make their views known on this important issue," he added.
The consultation will be led by the UK's Department for Communities and local government and is intended to take into account the views of all faiths and members of the community.
Its outcome will determine the nature of the revamp required at Britain's crematoriums.
Among other measures announced in last week's UK Budget likely to benefit Britain's Indian-origin families includes a new residence allowance that will effectively take the family home out of inheritance tax for all but the very rich ? ensuring parents can pass on their family home to their children and grandchildren.
Under the new rules family members will be able to inherit as much as 1 million pounds from 2020 without paying the 40 per cent death tax ? so long as the estate goes to children or grandchildren and includes a family home worth between 650,000 and 2 million pounds.