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Deputy O’Brien urges parents to spend Back to School Allowance wisely

24 July, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien, has urged parents to be prudent in how they use their payment of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) and to shop around for school uniforms and other items of clothing for the start of the new school year in September.

The Cork North-Central TD was speaking after the Department of Social Protection started issuing automatic payments of the allowance from the 15th of July onwards.

He continued:

“At this very difficult time many parents are struggling to pay the hundreds of Euros it takes to clothe and equip a child for school and the BTSCFA can at least go some way to easing this significant financial burden.

“With the issuing of these payments, there is an understandable pressure on parents to use this money for other essential items but in so doing they will find it even more difficult to pay for the back to school costs whenever the academic year starts in September.

“I would therefore urge parents to be as prudent as possible with this allowance and to use the time between now and September to source the most affordable clothing and text books for their children.

“However, regardless of how carefully they spend this limited amount of money it is clear that the cost of sending a child to school has reached unsustainable levels for many families.

“This in part can be attributed to the failure of Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to introduce measures that would ease this burden and his failure to take a proactive approach to this matter is an example of the growing disconnect between this government and the thousands of Irish citizens who are struggling to make ends meet.

“It is an issue the Minister must address as a matter of urgency and he needs to prioritise the introduction a range of relatively simple measures that would greatly reduce the cost of sending a child to school.”

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