Sinn Féin TD for Carlow Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has said that the government must back the party’s plans to ease the burden of back-to-school costs, when the proposals are debated in the Dáil tomorrow (Wednesday).
Sinn Féin have set out a package of measures to ensure families get a much-needed break from the cost of living crisis by extending Back to School Allowance to middle incomes families and increasing the allowance for those already receiving it, as well as cutting spiralling back-to-school costs such as the price of voluntary contributions, school books, uniforms and transport.
The proposals will be debated in the Dáil tomorrow. Speaking today (Tuesday), Deputy Funchion said: “We know families here in Kilkenny find back-to-school costs a huge burden every year, but even more so this year, with a cost-of-living crisis that is getting worse and worse.
"The book lists, the uniform lists, and the letters for voluntary contributions are already coming through the door now. This is not an issue that can wait until the Budget in October, these bills are hitting people in the here and now.
“Despite the urgency of this issue, the government has failed to act. Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion in the Dáil tomorrow calling on them to act now and ensure families get this crucial support to deal with school costs over the summer.
“Sinn Féin’s plan to cut back-to-school costs sets out how this crucial support can be delivered for families hit by the cost of living crisis. We would give the Back to School allowance to middle income families, targeting those on a Household income of €80,000 and less, with 500,000 additional children qualifying. The proposals would also see a 50% increase for those receiving the payment already.
"We would also increase the Back To School allowance by 50% for those who already get it. This would increase supports from €160 to €240 for parents with a child aged 4-11 and from €285 to €427.50 for children from the age of 12 up.
“Sinn Féin would also work towards a fully free schoolbook scheme for children. We also set out how we would eliminate fees in the school transport system on a phased basis and provide seats for an additional 10,000 children.
“We would enact Sinn Féin’s Affordable School Uniforms Bill straight away alongside our Bill to abolish voluntary contributions, which can put families under pressure to fork out hundreds of Euros.
“Our package would make a big difference to families’ finances in Kilkenny by putting money back in their pockets to help with back-to-school costs.
“Sinn Féin’s motion will demand that the government take action and implement our policies to give families this much-needed break.
"This cannot wait, families are suffering here and now, and families will have already taken the hit and suffered hardship by the time the Budget comes.
"I am urging the government to end the dithering and delay- families in Kilkenny need help with back-to-school costs now.”
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