Charities urge minimum school uniform grants across Scotland

Date: 9th August 2016
Category: Non-discrimination, Bullying

Anti-poverty campaigners are calling on the Scottish government to introduce a minimum school clothing grant as parents struggle to cover the cost of uniforms.

The Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland (CPAG) said many families were struggling to meet the high costs of sending their children back to school - even if they shopped at supermarkets and bargain stores.

While low-income families can qualify for school clothing grants, these were found to vary "hugely" from area to area, ranging from just £20 in Angus to £110 in West Lothian.

CPAG in Scotland, along with the Poverty Truth Commission and One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), is now calling for a minimum rate to be set for the whole of Scotland.

John Dickie, the charity's director, 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 government is serious about closing the attainment gap it is small but significant measures like this that can make all the difference."

The Poverty Truth Commission warned the cost of uniforms leaves many children from low-income families at risk of bullying if they are sent to school in clothes that fit badly or fail to meet dress codes.

Find out more about this campaign on:

Child Poverty Bill

Earlier this year, Scottish ministers gained the power to introduce a minimum school clothing grant through an amendment to the Education (Scotland) Act 2016.

On Monday 8th August, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on its Child Poverty Bill. The legislation, due to be introduced next year, aims to build on existing work, and form part of the government's overall approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland. Ministers want to hear from local government, businesses, the third sector and those on low incomes about what they think can be done to end the cycle of poverty.