SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has said families struggling with the cost of school uniforms need greater support.
He was speaking after a further £1m investment was announced to help families on low incomes.
Mr McCrossan said that while any increase is to be welcomed, school uniform grants in the North lag way behind other parts of these islands.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“I have been highlighting the issues around the cost of school uniforms for a number of years, but now with people in the midst of the worst costs crisis for decades many families, not just those on low incomes, will find it impossible to find the large sums necessary to purchase new uniforms for their children ahead of the new school term starting in September.
“At a time when people cannot afford to put fuel in their cars, food on the table or to heat their homes I don’t know how we can expect families to shell out hundreds of pounds per child for a uniform. The modest increase in support announced today is welcome but it simply won’t go far enough, we already lag behind the rest of these islands when it comes to support offered, with Scotland offering almost three times the support for primary school children and double for secondary, and even with these grants parents still struggle.
“We need to find a solution to this issue that works for both families and schools in the short and long-term. I see no reason why school uniforms should not be affordable to every family, it is not right that people should be expected to pay eye-watering prices as part of accessing education. The Education Minister needs to step up and provide the support to get parents through this difficult period and it would be much easier if she and her party colleagues in the DUP got back to work and stopped holding people here to ransom.”