CHEAPER school uniforms are a step closer thanks to the work of Northwich's MP.

Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, introduced his Private Members Bill earlier this year and it cleared a vital hurdle in parliament on Wednesday (September 16).

The bill, officially termed the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill, passed the committee stage in the Commons, having been held up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If passed, the bill will become law and mean that the Department for Education will bring in new legally-binding uniform guidance for schools, limiting single-supplier relationships and ensuring affordability for parents.

According to the Children’s Society, nearly one in six families say spiralling uniform costs have forced them to cut back on food and other essentials.

Mike said: "Due to the huge negative impact of the pandemic on family finances, it’s more important than ever that school uniforms are affordable.

"The backing for this bill has been almost universal.

"People have been contacting me from all over the country to share their stories of how uniforms have become more and more unaffordable.

"MPs from all sides of the house have also pledged their backing to this bill."

With the average cost of a uniform at a secondary school being £337 per year and £315 per year for each primary school child, Mike added:

"Now that we’re on the home straight I’ll be continuing to press to get this Bill turned into law and I urge everyone that wants to make this change to contact their MP and ask them to back it too."

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: "With even more families facing financial strain this autumn, we’re very pleased to see this bill make progress.

"This isn’t about getting rid of uniforms but about making sure that schools have uniform policies that are affordable for all their pupils’ families.

"We know uniform can be a great leveller but, by insisting on items with logos from specific suppliers, parents can’t shop around and the costs can soon mount up, with some unable to afford what their child needs.

"In the worst cases, children are sent home from school and missing their education, just for not having the right uniform.

"Let’s put the focus back where it should be: reducing financial burdens for families and making sure children are back in the classroom."