Survey says moneylenders and debt still part of the back to school cycle

by Dublin Gazette
0 comment
School crossing

A survey has revealed that more than a third of parents in Dublin will be forced to deny their children new items when they go back to school as costs continue to rise.

The annual school costs survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ICLU) revealed that 37% of Dublin parents will be forced to cut items such as new shoes or gym gear from the school budget when the new school year starts later this month.

Almost three quarters of this group have said they will have to deny their children the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, with 45% saying that they will not be able to buy their children new shoes.

The survey also showed that more than a third of parents are getting into debt over back-to-school costs in Dublin.

Nearly half of Dublin parents that took part (42%) say they are getting into debt of between €400 and €500, with 32% of those in debt saying they have had to resort to using a moneylender to cover school costs.

Out of the people who have used money lenders, a significant 60% have said they would use a moneylender again to deal with the financial pressure of school costs.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Bailey, ILCU Head of Marketing and Communications, said: “Despite the current recovery of our economy, Dublin families continue to struggle to cope with the cost of sending their children to school.

“I would really encourage these parents to talk to their local credit union, even where they feel they have a poor credit history. Using moneylenders will lead to a recurring cycle of unnecessary debt and irrational borrowing, and we would seriously urge parents to reconsider going down this route.”

Nationally, just over a third of parents say they will have to sacrifice spending on family holidays to meet school costs. Some 22% said they will have to cut spending on household bills and 15% say spending on food will have to suffer.

Sinn Fein spokesperson for Education, Kathleen Funchion, slammed the report, saying that “children of low-income parents” are being “discriminated against”.

Deputy Funchion said: “It couldn’t be clearer that the Irish education system is at risk of becoming an elitist and unaffordable luxury. This is a disgrace.

“The fact that parents are significantly more worried about the cost of education when compared with concerns over their child settling into school or making friends is shocking.

“This government is ensuring that the financial burden of education lands solely on the shoulders of already overworked and underpaid parents. [They are] ensuring that children from low-income families do not have the same educational opportunities that their peers get.”

Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne said: “There is an onus on schools to reduce the back to school costs wherever possible.

“Generic uniforms should be encouraged alongside book loan schemes. But the Government needs to acknowledge that the capitation grant no longer comes close to covering back to school costs for parents.

“In the 2016 Programme for Government, Fine Gael committed to increasing capitation grants for both primary and secondary schools to help pay for the services they provide to schools.

“However, the Government has failed to move on this commitment since coming to office. This simply isn’t good enough.

“Budget 2019 needs to take into account the rising cost of schools and the impact it is having on families,” he said.

Related Articles