New spending by the Government will be of immediate benefit to parents who are grappling with the costs of sending their children to school in September, Laois Offaly TD and Minister Seán Fleming has claimed.
The Fianna Fáil representative issued a statement welcoming an additional €50 million in social welfare measures and €17 million for education measures aimed at families.
He welcomed a steps which he said are designed to help families with school-going children returning to school in the autumn.
Minister Fleming said the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is being increased by €100 for each eligible child under the scheme.
He said the amount being paid for each qualified child aged 4–11 years will be €260 and the rate payable for each eligible child aged 12 and over will be €385. The TD said is estimated that some 151,000 families will benefit from this measure in respect of over 262,000 children.
A further measure relates to the School Meals Programme. Currently, some 230,000 school-going children benefit from this programme. From today, an additional 310 schools, recently designated as DEIS schools in March are being invited to participate in this programme.
He said struggling families with back-to-school costs, anyone who has applied for and receives a school transport ticket for the academic year 2022/23 will not be charged a fee for their school bus ticket this year. The TD said this would provide families with savings of up to €500 on the cost of tickets. Further details on how the scheme will operate will be announced shortly and communicated directly to families.
Minister Fleming said: "We recognise this is an expensive time of year for families, particularly those with a number of children in school. The announcement of a targeted suite of measures to help families with back to education costs this September across transport, clothing, footwear and meals, builds on the additional cost of living supports we have introduced since Budget 2022 and I believe it will be welcomed by many parents.
“As set out yesterday as part of the publication of the Summer Economic Statement, further measures which will take effect this year to assist with the rising cost of living will be announced as part of the Budget in September. However, it is appropriate that we take action now to help with back to school costs given that these expenses are being incurred at this time of year and today’s initiative will be of immediate benefit to parents who are grappling with these costs.”
The measures were announced by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Education Norma Foley.
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