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Proposal to scrap branded school uniforms moves forward

School uniforms could be made more affordable after The Education (Guidance About Costs of School Uniform) Bill cleared its final stages in the House of Commons.
Proposal to scrap branded school uniforms moves forward (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Education Bill would ensure guidance given to schools about the cost of uniform policies would be legally binding, and branded items such as blazers would be kept to a minimum to ensure the cost of school uniforms would be cut. 

Labour MP Mike Amesbury brought forward the Bill and it cleared report stage and third reading on Friday, March 12, paving the way for the House of Lords to consider it further at a later date.

16 amendments were made to the Bill, and MPs debated the plans, but ultimately it received an unopposed third reading after more than three-and-a-half hours of debate. 

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the Government "wholeheartedly" supports the legislation.

He said: "It is designed to ensure the costs of school uniforms are reasonable and that schools secure the best value for parents."

Mr Amesbury also said his Bill would put affordability at "centre stage".

Mr Gibb told MPs: "I will be consulting and have been consulting so far with interested parties to this debate.

"What I don’t want to do is to delay the passage of the Bill through the Lords while we wait for the statutory guidance to be finalised. I think it’s important we get this Bill on to the statute book before the (parliamentary) session ends."

Mr Gibb said families benefit from a zero-rate VAT on clothing designed for children under the age of 14, adding: "Expanding this to include a wider size of school uniforms would not specifically target low-income families."

Peterborough's MP Paul Bristow has welcomed the plans, though added that we must not "lose sight" of the important role uniforms play. 

He said: "For many hardworking families in Peterborough budgets are perhaps tighter this year than others, so help with fixed costs like school uniforms are a welcome help.

"However, school uniforms are a great leveller and crucial in making pupils feel part of a school. We must not lose sight of the important role they play."