Back to school allowance cuts ‘limiting access to education’ – Mitchell
A report today from Barnardo’s shows parents are going into debt to prepare their children for return to school. The figures indicate that one in ten is now going into debt for back to school costs.
Speaking on the figures, Denise Mitchell, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North, stated:
“Any policy decisions of the Government that effect educational progression, financial or otherwise, have long term implications. A lack of access to education does not simply have economic implications but has personal and social effects. This report demonstrates that education if not free in this country despite the rhetoric.
“Children should not be deprived because of austerity policies of governments. Their parents should not be left in a position to deprive themselves so that their child can be prepared for education.
“A starting point for relieving some of the burden through the upcoming budget by the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil partnership must be to address the previous substantial cuts made to the back to school clothing and footwear allowance.
“In regard to this welfare payment, or whatever payment, it cannot be seen in isolation. It must be seen in the greater context. Figures through the Barnardo’s report show the rising costs of sending a child to school. With the average costs of preparing a 4th class child for school is for example is now €395. This must be seen against all other rising payments people face. The Government need to relieve any possible financial barriers to educational attainment.”