Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD, says automatic processing of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance does not disguise the fact it has been cut by €50 for 2013.
Deputy O’Dea was reacting to news that some families will not have to go through the gruelling application process for the allowance but automatically receive the payment.
“The Government have had to automatically process the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance because of the massive delays for families in receiving social welfare payments and in appealing decisions.
“The Government has finally realised the hardship this was causing families throughout the country that depend on the payment. However, many other families will again be waiting months for word of their appeals.
“The scheme opened at the beginning of June and ends on September1. This year many low-income families will be hit by the €50 cut in the allowance every month per child, while the latest inflation figures show a 5% increase in education costs over the past year.
“The payment for children over the age of 12 will reduce from €250 to €200 this summer, while the payment for children between 4 and 11 will go down from €150 to €100.
“The cost of sending children to school and college has increased over the past 12 months yet Minister Joan Burton saw it fit to hit vulnerable families with added cuts to Child Benefit and Maternity Benefit.
“The families that will automatically receive the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance are entitled to the payment but this will not hide the fact they will lose €50 per child per month.”