Nearly 1500 children across Stirling are set to benefit from a Labour Councillor’s work on a key Stirling Council poverty fund. From August, children will be eligible for £130 School Clothing and Footwear grant – which research suggests is the cost faced by parents ahead of a new school year.
Stirling Council has a statutory responsibility to help children from families who need financial support with footwear and clothing for school. COSLA recently agreed to a Scottish Government proposal to fund a national minimum contribution of £100 per child. A report to Stirling’s Finance & Economy committee this week recommended this amount be adopted immediately, with £50 coming from the Scottish Government and £50 from Stirling Council.
However, Labour’s Economy spokesperson Margaret Brisley, tabled an amendment calling for the amount to rise to £130 per child.
“Research from the Poverty Truth Commission suggests the current cost of clothing a child for school is £129.50, and that is with shopping at supermarkets and bargain stores. The cost of school uniforms is leaving many children in low income families at risk of bullying and embarrassment because they are sent to school in ill-fitting clothes, or in clothes which don’t meet the dress code. If we are serious about closing the attainment gap and tackling child poverty, then we need to explore every option to get families the help many so desperately need. This isn’t about blazers and ties, this is about ensuring our children can concentrate on learning rather than what their peers are thinking about them. This is ensuring parents don’t have to prioritise between gym shoes and pencil cases. This is about ensuring our policies work for the many, not the few, and target those who need our help the most.”
Margaret’s amendment was accepted, meaning those families who need it will receive the funding in time to prepare for the school year starting in August.
“I would encourage any family who is struggling to check if you are eligible for this grant and to fill in the application form as soon as possible”
Last year Stirling Council gave 1499 children across the district footwear and clothing grants. Labour’s proposal to set the amount at £130 per child is expected cost £44,970 per year.
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitments:
- we will poverty proof the school day, ensuring every child has the support they need to learn.