Seanad debates

Thursday, 22 September 2022

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Garret AhearnGarret Ahearn (Fine Gael)

The recent increases in the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance have been welcomed. It has been a difficult time for parents with the cost of living and the cost of sending kids back to school. However, it is very restrictive in regard to who is able to claim the back-to-school allowance.

A great many people in County Tipperary have come to me to talk about their experiences of the cost of sending kids back to school. A recent survey found that it costs about €1,500 per child to include books, clothes, shoes and everything that goes with sending kids to school. If there are a couple of kids in the house, that is extremely expensive.

A number of people came to my office and asked whether people who are working could be given some sort of tax break or some recognition such as a double payment in the children's allowance, that would recognise people who are struggling and do not have enough disposable income. Some people I know are taking out loans just to be able to pay for clothes for their children. A single mother came to me who is working full time but on low income and getting nothing. She gets none of those supports that she feels she needs.

Most people have welcomed the back-to-school allowance, which is good, and the increase in it which recognises how people are struggling. However, working people are also struggling. We need to make sure they are represented and protected during this time. If something could be done in the budget next week to recognise that I would be grateful.

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