Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh TD has criticised the government for delaying a planned €200 increase to the SUSI maintenance as inflation bites.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“The entire planned increase to the student maintenance grant of €200 will be completely eaten up by inflation before students ever see it.
“This increase was a welcomed announced in October as part of the budget, after a decade without any adjustment for the rising cost of living. But many students were left disappointed when it became clear that they increase wouldn’t come into effect until this September – 11 months after the announcement.
“This was supposed to be a small step towards taking SUSI out of austerity mode, but now with inflation the planned €200 increase will we not even cover rising costs. With inflation at 6.7 or above, students will be worse off in real terms come this September despite the increase. Students and parents will feel that this is too little, too late.
“I called on the Minister at the time to bring the increase into effect immediately to help ease the burden, as inflation was already putting real pressure on students and families.
“The government refused to take this practical step. Since then, inflation has continued to rise, with the war in Ukraine adding to the inflationary pressures from supply chain disruption due to Covid.
“What needs to happen now is that the Minister must conclude the SUSI review as quickly as possible and bring forward the necessary reforms.
“It is vital that any changes introduced as part of this year’s budget process are implemented as soon as possible. We must not see another grand announcement and an 11 month delay in getting the supports where they need to be.”