Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes initiatives to assist families with Back to School costs

7th July, 2022

  • an additional €50 million to be made available for social welfare measures
  • additional €17 million for education measures

Minister Joe O’Brien has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a suite of measures designed to help families with school-going children returning to school in September.  The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, administered by the Department of Social Protection is being increased by €100 for each eligible child under the scheme. Consequently, 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. It is estimated that some 151,000 families will benefit from this measure in respect of over 262,000 children. This is a one-off measure for 2022 to assist families with back to school costs in the current year.

A further measure relates to the Department of Social Protection’s 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.

An additional €50 million in total will be made available to provide for these measures.

A third measure to help families was announced by the Minister for Education who said that students availing of the school transport scheme will not be charged fees for the academic year 2022/23. This is a temporary measure for the current year only.

Commenting on these measures Minister O’Brien said:

I’m very pleased that the Government has confirmed a package of measures to support families and children.  As children enjoy the freedom of their summer holidays, parents on the other hand are extremely worried about the costs associated with their return to school in September.

This is in recognition of the rising cost of living and also that 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.

Minister O’Brien continued:

I spoke at the Social Inclusion Forum 2022 recently about why I feel children, in particular, must be the focus of Budget2023 and protected from the damaging impact of food poverty and poverty overall.

I genuinely believe there will be strong public solidarity for a budget that not only keeps people out of poverty but also actively lifts people out of poverty and with a specific focus on protecting children from the lifelong detrimental impacts of poverty.”

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