Over 800 children will continue to receive support from Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd led authority to assist parents struggling to meet the financial demands of kitting children in school uniforms. This is despite a recent announcement by the Welsh Government to withdraw funds.
£105 school uniform grant per child was allocated to families struggling to make ends meet in recent years and thanks to Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd policy, these families will continue to receive support once the Welsh Government Grant comes to an end next year.
At Gwynedd’s full Council meeting last week (3 May), Councillor Edgar Owen, Waunfawr raised his concerns that the Labour government in Cardiff has recently announced that it intends to cut the school uniform grant nationally.
“Allocation has been agreed for this year. But it causes me grave concerns that we, as an authority, face more financial cuts from Cardiff to our school grants yet again next year.
“I firmly believe that the school uniform grant, that Gwynedd supplemented, to support youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds when they begin their secondary years education is vitally important.
“Some Gwynedd families are already struggling, food bank distributions are rising, Universal Credits are causing financial strain on families, and general living costs are rising. This type of targetted support for families has been welcomed.”
In total 842 youngsters received support from Gwynedd and the Welsh Government in 2016 to 2017. With over ten weeks still to go in this current school year, 810 pupils have already been awarded this fundamental support.
Plaid Cymru nationally has been campaigning against these Labour cuts. Llŷr Gruffydd, north Wales AM, and shadow cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning said:
“I’m aghast that this Labour government has cut the school uniform grant – it offers critical support to many of Wales’ poorest families and it benefited 5,500 families last year alone. It is appreciated by local authorities, schools, teachers and teachers unions, parents and children. To question its necessity is foolish.
“It is shameful that a government led by Labour is cutting support for the poorest and disadvantaged in our society at a time where support is needed more than ever. With the Conservative UK government cutting the welfare state and with living costs on the rise, this is the last thing I would expect from. Plaid Cymru will continue in its campaign to ensure that support for the poorest families with the cost of school uniforms is maintained.”
During Gwynedd Council’s full meeting last week, Councillor Gareth Thomas who leads on education in Gwynedd said: “Following the news that the Labour Government in Cardiff has decided to cut the grant, I am pleased that Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd led Cabinet has agreed to meet the cost for 2018-2019 from within the Council’s budget.”
Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd Leader, Dyfrig Siencyn said: “One of Plaid Cymru Gwynedd’s principles is to support children, young people and their families. Some are struggling to make ends meet due to the Labour government’s relentless austerity programme. It is a fundamental flaw to publicly penalise disadvantaged members of our society here in Gwynedd. Plaid Cymru will stand firm and turn every stone to ensure our young people are given a helping hand as they progress their education within our schools and colleges.”