Low income parents across the district are missing out on the minimum school clothing grant for their kids.
As thousands of pupils return to the classroom this week after the summer break, Falkirk Council has admitted their subsidy of £50 a child has remained ‘frozen’ for almost a decade!
In 2009 a government working group proposed a minimum subsidy of £70 per child to help families on low incomes buy uniforms and shoes for their youngsters.
Councils, rather than the Scottish Government, are responsible for deciding who qualifies for the cash, but a survey has shown the majority of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have failed to raise the subsidy to anything like that.
Falkirk Council makes the grants available to children attending any of its primary and secondary schools.
To qualify parents must fall into a number of categories including being eligible for:
* Income support;
* Income based job seekers allowance;
* Income related employment and support allowance;
* Child tax credit only with a gross annual income below £16,105;
* Child tax credit and working tax credit with a gross annual income below £16,105.
Payments are paid directly into the parent’s bank account and application forms can be downloaded or picked up from One Stop Shops.
John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group charity said: “The school clothing grant is a lifeline for many low income parents in Scotland.
“We know of siblings that end up sharing a gym kit and of families struggling to replace clothes as they’re worn out or where kids have outgrown them.
“Some families are struggling to have enough items of clothing to just get them through a week if something needs washing. The findings of this survey are hugely disappointing.”
Yesterday (Wednesday) a Falkirk Council spokesman confirmed: “The £50 grant has remained the same for approximately 10 years now and we have no plans at present to change that amount.”