Government back to school announcement shows pressure works, but many will still get no help - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that government measures on back to school costs will still leave many struggling families without assistance.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“This evening's announcement shows that pressure works. Until Monday, the government were determined to wait until September before taking any action on back to school costs for families, even though that would be too late for many parents who are struggling with back to school costs right now.
“I welcome that the government have taken on board some of Sinn Féin's proposals, which we published last week.
“However, they must realise the scale of the cost of living crisis means that many families who do not qualify for the Back to School Allowance are also really struggling.
“A family with one child in school, and with a total household income above €620 per week - well below the average wage - will not qualify.
“Many people on wages like that, and above, are really struggling week to week. For those families, they will be put to the pin of their collars as they face bills of hundreds of euros on school costs; sometimes over a thousand euro.
“Under Sinn Féin’s proposals, 500,000 additional children - targeting families with a combined household income of €80,000 - would have been eligible. This would have given help to those who don’t qualify currently. Under the government's proposals, many of these families will not get anything.
“So the government is beginning to wake up to the reality when it comes to back to school costs. But they have a way to go still. I am calling on government to, by all means, implement these proposals as soon as possible. I’m glad they have responded to pressure.
“But they need to come back and consider Sinn Féin's proposals to extend Back to School Allowance to middle income earners, as well as cutting the cost of books and uniforms, if they really want to get to grips with this crisis."