Back to School Costs Crippling families – Nolan
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Carol Nolan, has today expressed concern at the level of costs associated with sending children to school. Deputy Nolan raised the comments as the Irish League of Credit Unions published a survey which shows that 67% of parents surveyed feel that back to school costs have a negative impact on the ability of families to plan or pay bills.
Deputy Nolan said:
“Back to school costs are crippling families across this state, particularly those on low and middle incomes.
“It is truly shocking that this survey states that 13% of families will have to sacrifice food in order to meet back to school expenses, while 26% say that Back to School costs will have a significant impact on the ability of the family to meet bill payments.
“31% of parents find themselves in debt to over back to school costs, which have increased year on year since 2012 and now amount to €967 for a child at primary school, while sending a child back to secondary school will cost €1474.
“Despite the spiralling costs, the previous government cut the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance in 2014 by one third for primary pupils, from €150 to €100 and for secondary school pupils from €250 per child to €200.
“A recent UNICEF report shows that 30% of Irish children suffer from material deprivation in households that cannot afford essential items. There is a cost of living crisis in this state and this Government must act now to ease the burden on families.
“Sinn Féin has proposed number of measures including the restoration of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, the extension of the School Meals Programme by 40%, increased capitation to primary and secondary schools by 10% over a Dáil term and an increase in the School Books Grant by 30%.
“These measures would ease the pressure on families and help ensure that every child has the essential support to receive their education.” ENDS