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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

That is not the intention of the Bill.

I am not the first MP to campaign on this issue, and I must give credit to the sponsors of the Bill from across the Chamber. I also give a nod to the former MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field and, indeed my hon. Friend Mick Whitley, who is campaigning alongside me. I also want to give a nod to the former MP for Peterborough, Lisa Forbes. In her brief time in Parliament, she was a champion of this issue, while highlighting the unfair demise of the school uniform grant—a fact recognised by our shadow Secretary of State for Education, my good friend Angela Rayner, who continues to press the Government every step of the way.

This Bill is not about the school uniform grant or extending the provision for projects such as breakfast clubs. It is part of our legislative landscape and should not be viewed in isolation to those campaigns. Alongside others in this House, I will continue to press the Government on these matters.

My Bill will require the Secretary of State for Education to produce new guidance that would make it a legal requirement for schools and their governing bodies to make affordability the top priority when setting uniform policies. In 2013, the Department for Education produced good non-statutory guidance, but there lies the problem. While some schools progressively responded to it, others have unfortunately chosen to ignore it. This Bill gives teeth to those good intentions.