SINN Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has welcomed the announcement of an additional one million pounds to help low-income families with school uniform costs.

The grant is designed to assist families in need with a contribution towards the cost of purchasing school uniforms.

The West Belfast MLA said: "Today's announcement that uniform grants for eligible families will be increased by 20 per cent is welcome but much more needs to be done to support families with rising uniform costs.

“A recent poll of parents showed that 94 per cent were concerned about the rising costs of uniforms and PE gear, while 32 per cent said they get into debt to cover the costs.

"Sinn Féin has a plan to make uniforms more affordable for all families but to make this happen we need the DUP to end its boycott of the Executive.

"We need the DUP to join immediately with other parties to form an Executive so we can tackle the cost of living crisis and get money into the pockets of workers and families."

Announcing the increase, Education Minister, Michelle Mcilveen said: “The cost of purchasing school uniforms can place significant financial strain on low income families.

"My department is currently undertaking a review of free school meals and the uniform grant. In the interim, in light of the cost of living crisis, I am allocating an additional £1.04 million to increase the uniform grant available this year to provide additional support to parents.

“I appeal to all schools to be mindful of families across Northern Ireland who are struggling financially, and the additional burden purchasing school uniforms can place on household budgets. Every effort should be made to ensure school uniforms are as affordable as possible, in line with my department’s guidance on this issue.”