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Government should commit to increasing Back to School Allowance – Adams

13 July, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, on the publication of a report on school costs by the Irish League of Credit Unions has said the Government should commit to increasing Back to School Allowance immediately.

Teachta Adams said:

“Most school kids have just finished their studies for the summer, and I hope they and their parents are enjoying the break. For many parents however, this time of year is one of worry and stress as they face the prospect of the challenging costs associated with children returning to school in September.

“A report released by the Irish League of Credit Unions this morning highlights starkly this reality. The report finds that it now costs almost €1,000 a year to send a child to primary school and the figure is €1,500 for secondary school students.

“The report also finds that over 80% of parents feel the costs associated with sending their kids back to school are a significant financial burden, and alarmingly, almost a third of parents find themselves in debt covering back to school costs, borrowing an average of €357.

“Some of them are turning to unscrupulous moneylenders and other short-term high cost borrowing measures in order to put the money together to provide for their children.

“One must also take into account the wider cost of living crisis that is crippling families - in rising rents, mortgages, insurance costs, property tax and childcare, amongst others. 

“Citizens - parents and children alike - deserve better. Yet, the Back to School Allowance has been cut in by half since 2011.

“The Government could and should take some positive steps right now and the State can afford them, including increasing the annual Back to School Allowance by €50, at a total cost of €15 million.

“The current rates of payment under the Allowance do not cover the actual cost of sending children to school and the Government should commit to increasing it without delay, by way of a supplementary payment in the coming months if needs be.” 

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