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Education cuts are a betrayal of trust – Deputy Seán Crowe

5 December, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has described cuts announced in today’s budget as putting an unfair burden on many working families and making access to further education much more difficult.

Deputy Crowe said that many students would see the increase in the student contribution fee to €250 and the 3% reduction in student grants by 3% as a betrayal of trust.

Deputy Crowe said:

“Despite all the pre-election promises and pledges Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has increased the third level contribution fee by €250, meaning students will now have to pay €2,250 annually.

“And despite all the government’s rhetoric about encouraging people who are unemployed to acquire new skills and training, capitation grants paid for participants on further education programmes will be reduced by 2% in 2012. The existing allowances paid to 16 & 17 year olds participating in Youthreach Community Training Centres and FÁS courses are being merged and reduced to one standard rate of €40.

“Overall, there will be a 2% reduction in the already less than adequate funding for capitation and related grants to primary and second level schools in 2012 and 2013 and a further reduction in 2014 and 2015. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is to be reduced from €305 to €250 for children aged 12 years or more and from €200 to €150 for children aged four and over.

“Another big increase facing families is the additional charge for primary school transport that next year will double from €50 to €100. Added to this is the scandalous decision to cut the fuel allowance by €120 and reduce child benefits for 3rd and 4th children and multiple births as well as payments for lone parents. These regressive measures will suck €475 million out of local economies and families will be pushed further into poverty.

“These cuts will have the greatest impact on low and middle income families who are being denied access to third level education. Parents will find it increasingly difficult to pay for their children to attend school, with even the most basic items out of reach for many. It makes a mockery of the government’s claims that they believe education is a key driver that can help rejuvenate our economy.” ENDS

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