Friday 19 January 2018

Competition body backs plans to cut costs of uniforms

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

The Competition Authority has backed Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's demand that school uniform costs must be cut.

The Irish Independent revealed how Mr Gilmore was planning to allow all parents to avail of cheaper uniforms for their children.

Instead of costly crested designs, parents should be able to shop around and buy less expensive generic uniforms and then get school crests that can be ironed on.

So far, there has been a lukewarm response from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn's department to the proposal.

But the Competition Authority welcomed Mr Gilmore's plan. It recommended schools allow a number of retailers to supply their uniforms.

A spokeswoman said it received complaints every year from parents about schools allowing one retailer to exclusively supply uniforms.

"Parents are frustrated they cannot shop around and feel that they may be charged excessively high prices by the exclusive retailer," she said.

Mr Gilmore said: "I think this issue needs to be looked at and a sensible way must be worked out with schools to ensure there's a uniform policy that doesn't result in very expensive costs for families," he said.

One of the options being considered is to cut the grants for running costs to schools that insist on parents buying more expensive branded uniforms from certain shops.

However, Mr Gilmore did not make any promises new measures would be in place in time for next month's Budget.

Irish Independent

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