Posted by Aston Avery

UK parents admit they can’t afford to buy new school uniforms

New research has revealed parents across the UK are cutting back on essentials like food, energy and clothing for themselves so they can afford to pay for new school uniforms for their children, as the cost of living crisis gets worse. As inflation continues to rise, more than half (51%) of parents said they were cutting back on the amount of energy they use in their home, 41% said they were reducing their weekly food shop, 50% said they were stopping buying clothes for themselves, and 1 in 10 (13%) of families said they were even skipping meals to be able to afford to buy to their children new school items for the new term.

As the summer holidays get underway, parents are already worried about going back to school in September and whether they can afford to buy uniforms and other essential items for their children. 9 in 10 (89%) parents said they were concerned about the costs associated with getting their children ready to go back to school. The survey, which was  commissioned as a result of a partnership between charity Buttle UK and George at Asda, aims to highlight the challenge parents face when they send their kids back to school. It also found that 40% of UK parents are having to send their child to school in old or worn uniforms that don’t fit them anymore, and more than half (53%) said that was because they simply couldn’t afford to buy new ones. And as a result of that, more than a third (35%) of parents said they know their child felt embarrassed going to school in ill fitting uniforms and 9 in 10 (92%) said they were worried their son or daughter could be bullied.

The children’s charity, Buttle UK, says applications for its grants for financial assistance  rose steeply in the first year of the pandemic, 70% higher than they had been in the prior year, and they continued to stay high. In 2021/22 they were 44% higher than they were in 2019/2020, and the cost of living crisis is now making matters worse. The charity says it’s also seeing a rise in requests for help for school uniforms – the total amount of money it gave out in the last three months to spend on school uniforms is nearly 15% higher than the  same period over the previous two years.

Aston spoke to Joseph Howes, chief executive at Buttle UK.

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

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