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Schools benefit raised by 25%

Allocation de Rentrée Scolaire increases €70 to an average €360 as government makes good on election promise

PARENTS are to get a 25% boost in the back-to-school benefit Allocation de Rentrée Scolaire which rises to around €360 per child from the present €285.

The extra aid will be paid on August 20 for the coming rentrée as the government stood by an election promise to help struggling families.

ARS is paid to around 2.8 million families having at least one child aged between six and 18 years at school and who have combined earnings under certain thresholds.

These are an income of €23,200 in 2010 for one child, €28,554 for two children and €33,908 for three children.

The benefit amounts to €356,20 for a child between six and 10; €375,85 for a child between 11 and 14 and €388.87 for up to 18.

Families who already receive benefit from the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales will get the amount paid automatically in August.

Education Minister Vincent Peillon said it had not been upgraded in any meaningful way since 2008 and the €372 million cost would be paid for through "rearranging budgets".

The total cost of the beneft was €1.5 billion but Peillon said it would also help schools as it meant parents could afford to pay for school meals, a topic that education authorities had raised with him since he took office.

Families Minister Dominique Bertinotti said the aid would, depending on the age of the child, amount to between €70 and €80 and would help families on tight budgets, who often had just €30 left over at the end of the month. She added: "With this boost to purchasing power we can facilitate the proper education of our children."

Families group UNAF hailed the measure as a "helping hand that would improve the lives of the families concerned".

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