MORE families could benefit from footwear and clothing grants in the Wee County if councillors agree a policy change this week.

If given approval at a meeting of Clackmannanshire councillors on Thursday, August 11, the eligibility criteria for footwear and clothing grants will be changed for the 2022-23 academic session with current claims to be reviewed.

The policy is to be changed in relation to the income threshold for awarding the grants, eligibility criteria for which is set individually by each local authority.

Currently, Clacks parents are eligible for the grant, £120 for primary aged children and £150 for children in secondary school, if they are in receipt of child benefit as well as one of seven other qualifying benefits.

These include IS; JSA; ESA; Child Tax Credit – but not Working Tax Credit – with an income of less than £17,005; both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of up to £7,920; support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; or Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £660.

Papers to be tabled for councillors explained: “Information from neighbouring local authorities has revealed that most allow parents who are in receipt of both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit to be eligible for the grant if they have earnings up to £17,005, but in Clackmannanshire the income threshold is the same as the eligibility criteria for free school meals which is £7,920.”

Proposals are to bring the policy in line with other neighbouring council areas, meaning those who are in receipt of both child and working tax credits will be eligible if they have earnings up to £17,005.

Council papers added: “Since applications for clothing grants and free school meals for 2022-23 were opened in June the council has received 929 applications and 80 of these were rejected as they were above the income threshold.

“There will be parents who have not applied as their income was above the threshold.”

It is not known exactly how many parents would become eligible if the changes are approved.

However, council papers went on to explain that based on other local authorities' experiences the total grants paid in the financial year would be £241,000.

That would see the budget overspent by £8,000, which would be managed within the budget delegated to the strategic director of people.

Documents to be tabled concluded: “Given the level of deprivation in Clackmannanshire, the reputational risk to the council in being out of line is considerable.”