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Good news for parents: Back to school allowance is going up by 25%

Meanwhile, the weekly payments for those in Direct Provision are also set to be increased.

happy-school-run Source: Tatyana Vyc via Shutterstock

THE BACK TO School Clothing and Footwear allowance has been raised by 25%.

The back to school allowance is paid to parents to assist them in purchasing clothes for when their children return to school in September.

The allowance has previously been paid at a rate of €100 for children aged 4-11 and €200 for children aged 12-17.

From July onwards, it will be paid at a rate of €125 for children aged 4-11 and €250 for children aged 12-17.

The increases will see €10 million being added to allowance budget, which brings it to about €47.4 million for the year. The Department of Social Protection said about 108,000 families will benefit from the payment.

Those hikes are complemented by another increase announced this morning as the weekly payment for those in Direct Provision (DP) centres is set to be increased also.

Children in DP centres will have their weekly payment increased from €15.60 to €21.60, while an adult’s weekly payment will move from €19.10 to €21.60 from August.

The full cost of those increases will be €770,000 for a calendar year, according to outgoing Minister for Social Protection and new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, whose department has approved the increases in tandem with the Department of Justice.

“I am pleased that we can increase Direct Provision payments for adults and children,” Varadkar said.

The Tánaiste and I believe this is an important measure. The increases will benefit everyone living within the Direct Provision system by providing more disposable income.

Struggling

Fergus Finlay, CEO of children’s charity Barnardos, welcomed the increase in the back to school allowance, but said more needed to be done.

“Through our annual School Costs Survey we know parents, particularly those in low income families, are really struggling with the costs of sending their children back to school,” said Finlay.

“Many have to resort to cutting back on household bills, taking out loans or borrowing from family and friends to cover the cost.

So while this is a welcome announcement it should be seen as a first step towards creating a genuinely free education system as envisaged in Minister Varadkar’s recent election manifesto.

Commenting on the increase, outgoing Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said that the Department had adjusted the income limits to the payment to ensure that increases in social welfare wouldn’t affect people’s entitlement to the allowance.

“I am determined to reduce child poverty and I hope this increase sends out a clear signal of the Government’s renewed commitment,” Varadkar said.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

Read: From poisoned chalice to top of the table… Leo Varadkar now destined to be Taoiseach?

Read: Government criticised over huge number of disabilities payments denied, only to be allowed upon appeal

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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