Mathison: We must address school uniform hardship

Alliance MLA Nick Mathison has reiterated his call for changes to school uniform pricing, as he reminded everyone that pop up shops across Northern Ireland where now rolling out uniform collection schemes.

Nick Mathison

The MLA for Strangford – who earlier this year said he would bring forward legislation to tackle the issue once an Executive is established – said this “sticking plaster” approach of relying on community support was not sustainable.

He added: “Every year, at exactly this time, we have the same conversations about the pressure the growing costs of school uniforms put on families. The on-going cost of living crisis is only adding to an already distressing situation for many.

“I want to praise the community work and the initiatives that drive forward affordable second hand uniform options for many and I would urge anyone in need to contact your local Council who will be able to alert you to schemes in your area.

“But this cannot be our constant fall back position. We can’t simply move forward once the new term starts and forget this important issue until summer 2023. We need to put the work in now and yet sadly, the DUP’s decision to ignore the will of the people of Northern Ireland and get back to work has only led to greater hardship for many.

“At the first available opportunity I will be bringing forward a Private Member’s Bill to address this issue once and for all and to ensure equality and fairness for all in school uniform pricing in Northern Ireland.

“I hope the DUP realises the pain it is causing for its own political gain.”