Effects of cutting uniforms budget ‘glaringly obvious’

Grants to help parents buy school uniforms for their children are facing the axe.

Bradford Council plans to cut youth services by £3.2 million in the next two years, and one saving being explored is the scrapping of its ‘necessitous clothing grants’, which cost £465,000 a year.

The grants are paid in the form of vouchers for £26 to low-income households and those on council benefits.They are used to purchase uniforms from schools or dedicated shops.

But the move has been greeted with opposition.

Jessica Firth, of the school uniform supplier group that runs Andrew Firth’s in Keighley and Henry Smith’s in Shipley, said: “We frequently come face-to-face with those who most need school uniform vouchers.

“To us, it is glaringly obvious that cutting this vital resource would directly affect many families.”

But the man in charge of children’s services at the council feels even if the grants are scrapped, parents may still be able to get help directly from schools.

The government provides schools with a ‘pupil premium’ for disadvantaged pupils, and may now be encouraged to use some of this money to help parents pay for uniforms.

Councillor Ralph Berry said: “A significant number of schools are already making provisions for uniform grants from their pupil premiums, and we are having discussions with schools to expand this.

“We are one of the last councils in the country that still offer these. Cutting them is not nice or something I like to do, but we do have to plug a huge gap.”

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