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Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:34 am on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Employment) 9:34 am, 13th March 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for sponsoring the Bill. I can confirm that it is not anti-branding. As we go through proceedings on the Bill, things will become clear. I thank the hon. Gentleman for the intervention.

The Bill also paves the way to extending choice and stimulating competition in the local retail market to bring down costs for many hard-pressed families—a point well made by the Competition and Markets Authority back in 2015, when it reminded school heads and governors to avoid making their uniforms available only from a single specialist retailer, which undermines competition and the equalising properties of school uniforms. Many parents are left unable to afford the right uniforms and have got into debt. There is also an effect on children. Wearing the wrong school uniform can lead to a child being bullied, left out or even excluded from school, which of course impacts on their education. The Children’s Society estimates that 500,000 children were sent home for wearing the wrong clothes—something I have had confirmed by many of my constituents.