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Charities urge minimum school uniform grants across Scotland

Clothing grants are currently set by individual councils and vary hugely.

Uniforms: Campaigners want a minimum grant level set nationally by the Scottish Government.
Uniforms: Campaigners want a minimum grant level set nationally by the Scottish Government. PA

Child poverty campaigners are lobbying the Scottish Government to introduce a minimum school uniform grant.

Currently uniform grants are administered by individual local councils with differing levels.

Edinburgh City Council provide a £43 grant for primary pupils and £50 for secondary school children.

In the neighbouring West Lothian Council area a grant of £94 is provide for primary school children and £110 for secondary pupils.

The rate again varies in the West of Scotland with Glasgow City Council providing a flat grant of £47 for qualifying pupils of all ages.

The charities Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), the Poverty Truth Commission and One Parent Families Scotland are calling for the change.

John Dickie, director of the CPAG, said the Scottish Government has a "golden opportunity" to make the move before children return to school.

He said: "Though the responsibility to ensure school clothing grants are adequate ultimately lies with local authorities, the Scottish Government has a golden opportunity to set a minimum rate for the whole of Scotland, helping to ensure every child can return to school feeling comfortable, confident and ready to learn.

"If the Government is serious about closing the attainment gap it is small but significant measures like this that can make all the difference."

The call comes on the day that the Government launch a public consultation on their Child Poverty Bill.

http://stv.tv/news/politics/1349014-what-can-the-next-scottish-government-do-to-tackle-poverty/ | default

In February, the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 was amended so Scottish Government ministers could set a statutory grant limit which local authorities had to meet.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the deputy first minister John Swinney, who also administers education, will meet with Cosla to set the terms of a minimum clothing grant.

She said: "This Government has vowed to take action to tackle child poverty and we have already done a lot of work in this area but we want to go further.‎ That is why today (Monday) we are launching our Child Poverty Bill consultation. The Bill, to be introduced next year, will build on our existing work, and will form part of our overall approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

"The school clothing grants provision introduced in the Education Scotland Act 2016 will provide welcome support for families who need it most, ensuring that all children and young people have suitable clothing to enable them to learn and thrive at school.

"The deputy first minister will shortly be meeting with Cosla to discuss the school clothing grant and agree eligibility criteria and a minimum grant level to ensure those families across Scotland who need support receive it."

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