Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has said the government must do much more to support families struggling with back-to-school costs.
Speaking today, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“Last month, Sinn Féin published a package of measures to cut back-to-school costs. This set out how families can get much-needed support for these spiralling costs, as the price of uniforms, school books, lunches, voluntary contributions and transport can reach hundreds or even thousands of Euros.
“Families are already under huge pressure due to the cost of living crisis and will be under real financial pressure to cover these bills.
“I welcome that the government accepted some of my proposals and did finally act to increase the Back To Education Allowance. However, they did not go far enough. I am urging the government to ensure they deliver on all of Sinn Féin’s proposals to cut back-to-school costs.
“Middle income families need help this summer. They can’t wait. People who have one child in school and who have a combined income of €620 or more per week don’t get any assistance in terms of Back To School clothing and footwear allowance. Sinn Féin are proposing that this eligibility is widened to include middle income earners.
“These are people on modest incomes who are working hard and cannot afford to pay these spiralling back-to-school costs. It would be fair and reasonable for the eligibility to be widened to ensure these families get a break from the cost of living crisis.
“There is still time to act, but the government cannot delay any longer. This issue is urgent. We are already in the middle of summer and these costs are coming in. Families cannot wait any longer.
“The government has shown before that they can act, when they did agree to take on some of Sinn Féin’s proposals. I am urging them to deliver on all our measures. Our proposals are fair, reasonable and deliverable. They would make a real difference to families who are under major financial pressure.
“The government must widen eligibility for the Back To Education Allowance now, so that middle income earners can receive much-needed help from back-to-school costs. A Sinn Féin government would stand up for families hit by the cost of living crisis.”
Note: Sinn Féin would extend the Back To School Clothing and Footwear Allowance to an additional 500,000 children. Further details on Sinn Féin’s proposals are available to view in this document