Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described escalating costs associated with back to school as highlighted by the Irish League of Credit Unions survey as scandalous and unacceptable.
67% of parents surveyed feel that back to school costs have a negative impact on the ability of families to plan or pay bills and in extreme cases go without essentials like food.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“This year’s Credit Union survey on Back to School costs is all too familiar in that it once again highlights the extreme hardship that ordinary families have had to endure just to send their children to school with many turning to illegal moneylenders as a last resort. 13% of families will have to sacrifice food in order to meet basic back to school expenses, while 26% say that School costs will have a significant impact on the ability of their family to meet other bill payments.
This scandalous situation is going on for years with successive governments ignoring or turning a blind eye to the difficulties many families have to go through every school year. A third of the parents surveyed said that they consistently find themselves in debt over what should be the simple task of sending their child to school.
Increased costs year on year have resulted in it now costing approximately €967 to send a child to primary school while sending a child back to secondary school will now cost a whopping €1474.
Despite the out of control costs, the previous government in their wisdom decided to cut the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance supports by 50 euro for primary and secondary school pupils. It is undeniable following this latest survey that Back to school costs are crippling many families across this state, particularly those on low incomes.
There is a cost of living crisis in this state and this Government must act now to ease the burden on households. We are told we are in the middle of a recovery but many families are yet to feel or experience that recovery. My party Sinn Féin has proposed a number of measures including the restoration of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, the extension of the School Meals Programme, increased capitation to primary and secondary schools over a Dáil term with an increase in the School Books Grant as measures that will immediately alleviate the pressure on families.
These measures would ensure that every child has the essential support to receive their education without forcing families to go without food, paying essential bills or turning to unscrupulous money lenders.”