MSP call on clothing grants as Fife pupils return for new school term
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Claire Baker’s criticism came as pupils began a new term at primary and secondary schools across the Kingdom.
The Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, called on Holyrood to deliver on a promise to increase the national school clothing grant by inflation each year, highlighting that the minimum grant has not increased in over two years.
She said the commitment to an annual increase of the School Clothing Grant was made in the Covid Recovery Strategy in October 2021, but the minimum grant has not increased since July 2021, when it was raised to £120 for primary pupils and £150 for secondary pupils. Prior to that increase the grant was previously raised in 2018.
Research by the Child Poverty Action Group on the financial impact of the school day on low-income families has shown that uniform is the biggest cost for families with primary school children.
Ms Baker, said: “As families prepare for the start of the new school term, the costs of new clothing, footwear and other items can really add up. We know how many families are struggling with the current cost of living crisis, and how school-related costs can place additional burden on stretched finances, yet the Scottish Government is failing to deliver on promises to hard-pressed families to help reduce that burden.
“The cost of living crisis is pushing more and more families into poverty, and both the Scottish and UK governments need to do more to stop that from happening. While it is welcome that some councils have been able to offer additional support, the Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure that families with school-aged children across Scotland are getting the support they were promised.
“For many families, the school clothing grants are vital to ensuring that children are able to get to school feeling comfortable and prepared. Since the Scottish Government made the pledge inflation has increased significantly and I would urge them to make good on the commitment to annually increase the school clothing grant, in order that those families can cover that additional cost.”