Cost of Living: Additional Financial Support for Pupils

Education – in the House of Commons am ar 29 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Anum Qaisar Anum Qaisar Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Levelling Up)

What recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the potential merits of providing additional financial support to school pupils in the context of increases in the cost of living.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Minister of State (Education)

Ministers normally meet colleagues from the devolved Governments, as we were just discussing a moment ago. The Education Ministers Council was due to be hosted by the Scottish Government in late 2023, but, although we have been watching our doormats, no invitation has arrived. The UK Government are providing £108 billion over 2022-23 to 2024-25 to help with the cost of living.

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

On the cost of living, among concerns raised by parents in response to the most recent National Parents Survey by Parentkind, the cost of school uniforms, trips and food came up the most. Labour has a plan to cut the cost of school uniforms by limiting the number of branded items, and our free breakfast clubs in every primary school will put money back in parents’ pockets while improving attendance and attainment. We have done the Government’s homework, and they are still failing families. Will it take a Labour Government to give every child in this country the chances that they deserve?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Minister of State (Education)

I appreciate what the hon. Lady says, but I am afraid she needs to keep up: we have done the things that restrict the cost pressures on uniforms. We regularly survey how much uniforms are costing, and some of those results are encouraging. We also survey regularly the number of schools that have a second-hand uniform facility available, and I am pleased to report that that has improved. We are also very clear that, when a school trip is part of the national curriculum—an essential thing to do—there should be no charge. In addition to that, way many schools make sure that they are providing inclusivity for all pupils, and of course the pupil premium that we introduced shortly after 2010 is one of the things that facilitates that.