Nottinghamshire Council could double budget for school uniform payments to vulnerable families
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Members of the council’s children and families select committee suggested the authority could increase the budget from £500 to £1,000 per year.
A final decision will be made by Coun Tracey Taylor, cabinet member for children and families.
The authority funds school clothing allowances for vulnerable families living across Nottinghamshire.
Families eligible include those who have lost clothes in a fire, flood, or theft, have been made homeless, or who are fleeing domestic violence.
New figures reveal there has been an increase in claims during the 2022/23 financial year.
During this year, £673.75 was paid out, an overspend on the £500 budget allocated by the council.
During the committee meeting, Coun Mike Quigley, proposing an increase to the budget, said: “As chairman of a multi-academy trust of 14 academies, most in our chain have a scheme to help children who are less well off or those who have met problems with fire or flood.
“I would like to make a recommendation that we increase the budget to £1,000 which will more than cover the overspend this year.”
Coun Sam Smith, committee chairman, said: “I wholeheartedly support that.
“This is the first time that the budget has been overspent.
“I think it’s a reasonable recommendation that the committee puts forward that the budget is increased. We will add that to the recommendations. That will be put forward to the cabinet member on the forward plan.”
Coun Jim Creamer said: “School clothing can be extremely expensive, especially for a family in crisis. I have no hesitation in supporting the £1,000 budget.”
The council considers all requests for help from families in “exceptional circumstances” for all school-age children.
Families can claim up to £50 per pupil, depending on the circumstances.
The current overspend can be contained within the overall education, learning and skills budget of £6.6 million.
Council papers said: “This was the first year the £500 budget was overspent. It is proposed the budget for school clothing and footwear allowances paid under the category of exceptional circumstances be reviewed to ensure that the budget allocated meets need from April 2024.”