Luton charity delighted with affordable school uniform bill

Level Trust is delighted that Mike Amesbury MP presented the title of his affordable school uniform Private Members' Bill to parliament on Wednesday, February 5

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 9:39 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 9:39 am

Private Members' Bills are introduced by individual MPs rather than by the Government. The next stage for this Bill, Second Reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 13.

The bill will make it law for schools to put affordability of school uniform at the heart of their school uniform policy.

Mike Amesbury MP, said: “The response to this has been hugely positive already. I’m delighted that it’s received both government, and cross-party support.

The Uniform Exchange in Luton

“As we take this bill through Parliament I hope that other MPs will come onboard so we can help make a real difference for families who are struggling with the cost of school uniforms.”

Level Trust have been working across Luton for schools for seven years to help families with the costs of school uniform, last year their flagship project, the Uniform Exchange, provided free school uniform items to 2391 children in the town.

According to Level Trust’s own research, the average cost of a boys high school uniform and P.E. kit in Luton is £258, 46 per cent of families in Luton live in poverty according to End Child Poverty.

Jane Malcolm, chief executive of Level Trust, said: “School uniform costs can be expensive even for those with a good wage.

"Trying to afford a school uniform when you have very little is impossible for some families. We know parents who have paid for school uniform on credit cards or pay day loans.

"We meet children who are out of school because they cannot afford school uniform and we know young people who regularly miss P.E. because they cannot afford the kit."

"Lots of schools do their best to keep uniform costs low, but some are choosing expensive, highly logoed uniform that many of us find overpriced.

"This makes me feel deeply angry because it is causing needless discrimination against children who are poor, something that can be so easily remedied by keeping school uniform costs low.

"That’s why we are delighted that Mike Amesbury MP has chosen this Bill and we hope all MP’s will back it for the sake of the children and young people in their constituencies.”

Level Trust provide training and support for schools in Luton to help them ensure their school uniform policies are as affordable as possible.

The work is still in it’s early stages, but the charity hopes that Luton will become the first town in the UK where all the schools commit to keeping the cost of uniform low.