Martin Lewis’ MSE urges shoppers to claim £200 for school uniforms ahead of looming deadline | The Sun
MARTIN Lewis' MoneySavingExpert (MSE) is urging parents to claim £200 for school uniforms ahead of a looming deadline.
Depending on where you live, you could get up to £200 for one child's school uniform.
Households up and down the UK could be entitled to free cash grants towards school uniform – and you don't need to pay the money back.
Martin Lewis' MSE said: "School uniform can be a significant expense for many families, with one recent parent survey finding that the annual cost can reach more than £400 a child."
How much you get depends on where you live, whether that be in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The schemes on offer vary from country to country and open and close at different times.
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For example, eligible households in Barnet have just five days – until Monday, July 31 – to apply.
Meanwhile, parents in Nottingham have until December 31 this year.
Each council decides the amount for themselves, but low income families should be able to claim support through their local authority's website.
What is the school uniform grant and who is eligible?
Local councils across the UK offer certain residents grants to help cover the cost of school essentials, such as uniform.
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But the help on offer varies depending on where you live.
For example, all local authorities in Wales are offering grants worth up to £200 for the 2023/24 academic year.
But not all councils in England and Scotland offer the support, and the amount you can depend changes depending on where you live too.
Eligibility for school uniform grants varies, but in most cases you will have to be on certain benefits or a low income to qualify.
For example, in Northern Ireland, residents have to be on any one of a number of benefits to qualify, including Income Support, Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance and the Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit.
Meanwhile, in Wales, all looked after children qualify for a grant, as do those who receive free school meals.
How can I claim?
In most cases, you will have to apply for help through your local council.
If you don't know what council area you fall under you can use the Government's council locator tool on its website.
You just have to enter your postcode or town, city or village where you live and it will tell you what authority to contact.
Bear in mind, if you live in Northern Ireland you have to apply for a grant through the Education Authority's website.
Extra help with school uniform costs
If you're not eligible for a school uniform grant, it's always worth contacting your child's school directly.
It might be able to provide you with free school uniform or signpost you to charity shops or other stores where you can get cheap uniform.
Some charities offer targeted help to families in need too.
For example, in Camden, London, residents can apply for help through the St Pancras Welfare Trust, Glasspool or London Ragamuffins.
But bear in mind charities often have a limited amount of money to give and usually specific criteria which must be met in order to get a grant.
Charity Turn2Us has a free grants search tool on its website which you can use to find out what help is available.
Meanwhile, you can always try approaching your nearest Citizens' Advice branch.
If you don't know where your nearest Citizens' Advice branch is, you can use the branch locator on its website.
You might also be able to get help via the Household Support Fund.
It is worth £842million and being distributed by councils in England.
But each local authority has been given a unique share of the pot meaning what you can get depends on where you live.
The money is being shared between households in different ways, either through vouchers or cash payments.
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While the help isn't always specifically allocated to spend on school uniforms, you can use it towards that if you want.
To apply you'll have to contact your local council.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.
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