Government must do more to help families with Back to School costs – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to do more to help parents who are facing mounting stress due to the financial burden of Back to School costs.
Teachta Adams said:
“A report published last week by the Charity Barnardos found that parents are “stressed out, overburdened and fed up” with the high cost of sending children to school. The report paints a stark picture of parents not paying bills or cutting back on other areas in order to meet these costs.
This is supported by a recent survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions which found that 78% of parents are struggling financially with Back to School costs, and that 36% were falling in to debt due to it, including 24% who go to moneylenders, despite these charging enormous interests rates that put families under even more financial pressure.
Parents are stressed trying to provide uniforms, shoes, books, ‘voluntary contributions’, and much more. They have to pay on average €949 to get their children ready for primary school and €1,399 to send them to secondary school. As a result, many children miss out on extracurricular activities or school trips which is a deeply unfair position to put parents in. The vast majority of parents get no assistance with Back to School Costs.
Minister McHugh and the government have an opportunity in the upcoming budget to help parents with Back to School costs. The Minister could begin by increasing the core funding to education and end the use of so-called 'voluntary contributions' and by delivering free school books for every pupil”.
Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú said:
“There are real alternatives to the current policy being pursued by the government. Last week Sinn Féin published its new policy document “Lets End Back to School Stress”.
The Sinn Fein policy proposals also call for legislative measures to make uniforms more affordable through the use of Generic Uniforms. It also proposes:
· A scheme which makes school books free for all children, rolled out over a number of Budgets.
· An end to school reliance on so-called voluntary contributions by increasing core capitation funding to schools.
· reform and increase funding for the school transport scheme so that it is more flexible and affordable for parents.
There is a cost of living crisis and the government cannot sit on the sidelines and act as spectators. We have shown them the alternatives, now they need to take them and implement them.”
Note to Editor:
Back to School Allowance Scheme 2019
The Back to School Allowance Scheme doesn’t end until 30 September. Most families in receipt of the Allowance will receive it automatically but there may be some who do not, for example if children are just starting school.
Parents who do not receive notification of an automated payment can make application online at www.welfare.ie To apply on line you need a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account.
If you need a Public Services Card you can make an appointment at www.mywelfare.ie.
Application forms are also available in all Social Welfare Departmental offices, via SMS (text Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909), from the websitewww.welfare.ie or you can email the Department at [email protected].
Information is regularly updated on the Departments website.http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Back-to-School-Clothing-and-Footwear-Allowance.aspx