Deputy Fergus O'Dowd.
“Children are set to benefit from a 25% increase in the Back to School Allowance”. That’s according to Fergus O'Dowd, Fine Gael TD for Louth and East Meath
“My colleague the Fine Gael Leader, Leo Varadkar, has increased the clothing & footwear allowance for eligible school children, in what was one of his final acts as Minister for Social Protection” he said.
“We all know the financial pressures on families during the summer and into September as children head back to school.
“From July, this 25% increase in the Back to School Allowance will help to ease the financial pressure on hard pressed families across the country.
“As Mr Varadkar has said himself, this is a signal of the Government’s renewed commitment to reducing child poverty, something I know he is very determined to progress.
“The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is increasing from €100 to €125 for children aged 4-11 and from €200 to €250 for children aged 12 years and over.
“It means that some 194,000 children across the country will benefit from this increase of up to €50.
“Another change introduced by Mr Varadkar was to adjust income limits in order to ensure that increases in social welfare announced in Budget 2017 won’t affect people’s entitlement to the Allowance.
“The increase to the Allowance brings the total allocation for the Allowance this year to €47.4 million, €10 million more than what was originally proposed for 2017.
“The additional costs will be met from within the Department of Social Protection’s allocation for 2017, in which there is an underspend due to rapidly falling unemployment levels.
“This shows that the benefits of job creation spread far beyond the people taking up the jobs. It means more money to improve social services and social supports. Fine Gael is determined to use the benefits of our recovering economy to support those who need it most.
“I encourage parents to check out www.welfare.ie for more information on the Back to School Allowance. The majority of payments will be made automatically with no application form required and the Department will notify these customers of their entitlements shortly. Customers who do not receive notification of an automated payment will need to make a written application.
“The Allowance will be paid in mid-July to give parents plenty of time to prepare financially for the new school year.”