Monday, 11 May 2015

"David Cameron must recognise the importance of school uniform and help independent British businesses"

David Burgess, the newly elected Chair of The Schoolwear Association, gives his thoughts on the results of the 2015 general election.
Last Friday's election results came as quite a shock to many, who were expecting a hung parliament in one of the most uncertain elections in Britain for 40 years. I see the result being positive for businesses, as we now won’t be looking at uncertainty.
We do not know what the Conservatives will plan to do specifically in terms of school uniform but what we do know is that as an association we are now very well placed to continue influencing the decision makers. It is part of our mission to make sure that Ministers, MPs and civil servants – as well as the public, teachers and governors - fully appreciate the benefits of school-specific uniform. We also know that education is important to the Conservatives, and that they are in favour of school pupils having a smart appearance.
We want this government to realise how important a good-quality school-specific uniform is to a child’s education and well-being and most importantly to put forward measures to help parents with education costs. Our members, who together clothe three quarters of Britain’s schoolchildren, are committed to providing high quality uniform, and we want the government to help families to afford the very best schoolwear that their children deserve.
Our members are all also British businesses providing jobs in the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sector so it is very encouraging to hear that the country’s economy grew by 2.6% last year and we want to keep it that way.
These members continue to face structural and economic pressures, not least unreasonable competition from a few overly powerful supermarket chains, so the new government needs to be supportive of small businesses.
For years we have lobbied for the exchequer to remove VAT on clothes for teenage students and more recently to introduce tax free school uniform vouchers. Although these have not yet been successful, we will not stop until something is done to help parents with the necessity that is school uniform.