The Daily Telegraph

Families hit by soaring cost of back-to-school supplies

- By Louisa Clarence-smith EDUCATION EDITOR

FAMILIES have seen a surge in the cost of back-to-school supplies at the start of term, with the price of sticky notes almost doubling in a year.

The average cost of highlighte­r sets, backpacks and lunch bags has also risen sharply, according to Pricerunne­r, a price comparison website.

The price of a pack of sticky notes is up 86 per cent to £13. Highlighte­r sets have risen by 21 per cent to £11 and ring binders by 33 per cent to £12.

The average backpack price last month was £55, up 14 per cent on the previous year, while the price of lunch bags has risen by 3 per cent to £12.

Evidence of the rising costs faced by families and schools will add to pressure on Liz Truss, the incoming prime minister, to provide extra support.

Millions of families are expected to look for second-hand items, according to Olio, an app that connects people who want to share used items.

Analysis by Klarna, the “buy now, pay later” firm, found that backpack sales in August were 15 per cent lower than in the previous year, suggesting that some parents may have been cutting back on purchases or possibly buying items earlier in anticipati­on of rising prices.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Associatio­n of School and College Leaders, said: “There are many issues facing education, but the [urgent] crisis is the soaring cost of energy bills [for] households and for schools and colleges.

“These costs will plunge more families into poverty and mean more children are left cold and hungry and in no fit state to learn. Given that there is no energy price cap at all for schools and colleges, spiralling bills will mean that they have to cut educationa­l provision in order to balance their budgets.”

‘These costs will plunge more families into poverty and mean more children are in no fit state to learn’

Price Runner found that the average price of a small number of school supplies had fallen, including notebooks, which were 29 per cent cheaper than last year at £14. The average price of books had fallen by 11 per cent to £6.

However, the cost of traditiona­l ingredient­s for a packed lunch, such as bread, ham and butter have risen.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, warned last week that many families “will be wondering how they’ll be able to keep putting food on the table as the cost of living crisis worsens”.

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