13 June
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In June 2021, the Scottish Government increased the minimum payment for school

clothing grants to £120 for primary school pupils and £150 for secondary school

pupils to commence from the start of the 2022/23 academic year. However, In West Lothian, it was agreed to further increase payments to £150 for primary school pupils and £180 for secondary school pupils attending West Lothian Council schools.

Applications for the School Clothing Grant payment for the 2022/23 academic year will be launching in the coming weeks via the West Lothian Council website. Ahead of the application period launching, you can find a full list of the eligibility criteria by visiting: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/mealsandclothing

West Lothian Council's Anti-Poverty Service is responsible for administering the school clothing grant locally. Nahid Hanif West Lothian Council's Anti-Poverty manager updated those at the meeting how the Anti-Poverty Service has worked with Community Planning Partners to increase access to vital financial supports and to streamline application processes as per the strategic aims set out in the Community Planning Partnership Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Income maximisation advisers are now co-located within seven high schools and work closely with teaching staff and support workers to identify and engage with families experiencing financial hardship.

To date, the approach has seen extra income of £25,879 secured through Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and financial support including School Clothing Grants and one-off payments for essential items and energy costs.

Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "West Lothian Council has one of the highest rates of School Clothing Grant in Scotland. The robust administration process and qualifying criteria support the most vulnerable households on low income at a time of economic uncertainty and increasing cost of living expense. This

approach to School Clothing Grant administration contributes to the outcomes of the Community Planning Partnership's Anti-Poverty Strategy and officers continue to work with relevant partner agencies to find new ways of ensuring the appropriate assistance reaches those in need.

"If anyone is uncertain about whether they are eligible to receive the School Clothing Grant then I would encourage that you visit the West Lothian Council website or contact the Advice Shop where you will find all the information you need. Further details on applications for the new academic year will be released in the near future."

If anyone is worried about money or just wants to check they are receiving their full benefit entitlement they can call 01506 283000 or email Advice.Shop@westlothian.gov.uk