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Figures released by the Citizens Advice Bureau last month showed that one quarter of parents are forced to borrow money to cover the cost of a new school uniform, as the Government urges schools to avoid branded uniforms in a bid to ease financial strain.
The charity's study also found:
- 72 percent of parents will be forced to buy uniforms from a specific shop;
- Nine in 10 parents will buy a new uniform this year;
- Nearly two-thirds of parents will pay more than £70 for a new uniform per child this term;
- 23 percent of parents don’t know how they will be able to pay for uniforms.
The coalition is urging schools to avoid using single suppliers and branded uniforms, as parents are thought to be spending up to two fifths of their August income on back-to-school costs.
Under the new guidelines, the government has proposed:
- Exclusive single supplier contracts should not be used, unless regular tendering processes are run to ensure firms provide value for money.
- They should also not enter into 'cashback' agreements with shops.
- Compulsory items of uniform should be available relatively cheaply.
- Branding should be kept "to a minimum".
- Schools are urged to avoid changing specifications frequently.
Schools minister David Laws has said the cost of school uniforms was often "unnecessarily high" at a time when family budgets were being squeezed. Speaking as the Liberal Democrat conference gets under way in Glasgow, Mr Laws added:
The coalition is urging schools to avoid branded uniforms to cut bills for hard-pressed parents.
Schools minister David Laws said the cost of clothing was often "unnecessarily high" at a time when family budgets were being squeezed.
An Office of Fair Trading investigation last year suggested that three quarters of schools placed restrictions on where uniforms could be bought.
That typically added £5 to the price tag for each item, leaving parents an estimated £52 million a year worse off.