School uniform help for struggling families is cut

09:06 03 April 2014

Shire Hall Cambridge.

Shire Hall Cambridge.

Archant

Families who struggle to afford the cost of school uniforms for their children will no longer be able to claim help from Cambridgeshire County Council it was revealed this week.

The county council says it can “no longer afford” to offer the subsidy to cover part of the cost of secondary school uniform because of a new round of cost savings in the education welfare budget.

The county council has been asked to find £149 million in cost cuts over the next five years, with the council’s learning department expected to deliver £4million towards that target.

The news came to light in a series of letters that were delivered by the county council to secondary schools across East Cambs.

In the letter, Sam Surtees, manager of the education welfare budget, said: “As I am sure you are aware, the council has to make significant savings over the next five years, of nearly £149 million.

“One of the measures to reduce the council’s financial commitments approved by council was to cease to provide families with support with the costs of secondary school uniform, which will save £141,000 a year.

“Families have welcomed this support and this decision has been taken with great reluctance but it is a discretionary payment that we can no longer afford.”

Ms Surtees added that the scheme would close with immediate effect on March 31 but said that all applications received before that date would be processed – as long as they were not for children due to start Year 7 in September.

She added: “The Education Welfare Benefit Service is currently exploring alternative schemes to support our most vulnerable families.”

HAVE YOU BEEN AFFECTED BY THE WITHDRAWL OF FUNDING? Contact the Ely Standard, Alexander House, Fore Hill, CB7 4AF, or e-mail editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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