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Pap Ndiaye defends a “fair” device in the face of “unfounded and stigmatizing” suspicions
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Pap Ndiaye defends a “fair” device in the face of “unfounded and stigmatizing” suspicions

While the payment of the back-to-school allowance (ARS) is once again the subject of criticism, the Minister of National Education took a position in favor of this aid, Thursday, August 18. [Elle] is necessary and just for the back-to-school expenses of more than three million families. Casting suspicion on its use is unfounded and stigmatizing”wrote Pap Ndiaye on Twitter.

The tone contrasts with that of his predecessor, Jean-Michel Blanquer, who argued, at the start of the 2021 school year, that the ARS was sometimes used to “buy flat screens” ; an idea defended for several years by elected officials, most from the ranks of the right, who regularly call for an overhaul of the allowance.

LR filed a Law proposition

At the beginning of August, a bill from the Republicans (LR) intended to « frame [son ] use “ and to “fight against fraud” revived the controversy, which now accompanies each return. On Wednesday, the government spokesman, Olivier Véran, as well as left-wing leaders protested against this text.

“The back-to-school allowance is useful and fair! It is a precious help for three million families to finance the supplies of the children and to face the expenses of the re-entry. Stop the stigma », tweeted Olivier Véran.

“The back-to-school chestnut tree. Every year, parents are accused of buying plasma screens with the back-to-school allowance… new rims… smartphones… The old fantasy of the poor who drink the money from the allowances”also mocked the Vice-President (Socialist Party, PS) of the Senate and former Minister of the Family Laurence Rossignol.

Read also: Back-to-school allowance, exceptional bonus: what is the difference between the two schemes?

According to the explanatory memorandum to the text, co-signed in particular by the interim president of LR, Annie Genevard, the deputies Virginie Duby-Muller (Haute-Savoie), Marie-Christine Dalloz (Jura) and Pierre-Henri Dumont (Pas-de- Calais), “the absence of control over the expenses incurred” with this allowance “de facto allows beneficiaries to use this aid for purposes other than the needs of their children for their schooling”.

The bill advocates making available to families, “for every child”of a “kit of supplies and an ARS in the form of vouchers so that families can dress their children or buy them the books and tools necessary for their schooling”. The text also aims to “require, as a prerequisite, the production of proof of schooling to avoid fraud”.

“Almost all” beneficiaries purchase supplies

At the start of the 2021 school year, the deputy (MoDem) of Nièvre Perrine Goulet, member of the presidential majority, had made a similar proposal. At the time, the former Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer considered the idea “interesting”.

President Emmanuel Macron also supported his minister’s position, saying: “We would be blind or naive to think that all of what each household receives in ARS is donated to buy supplies or children’s books. » At the same time, the Head of State affirmed that it was not necessary “that we enter a system of social control where there would be a form of distrust that is established with regard to families”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Inflation jostles sales of back-to-school items

The ARS is paid at the end of August, subject to resources, to families with at least one school-going child aged 6 to 18. For the start of the 2022 school year, the amount is 376.98 euros per child aged 6 to 10, 397.78 euros per child aged 11 to 14, and 411.56 euros per child aged 15 to 18. . For a family with two children, the income ceiling is set at 31,225 euros per year.

According to a study by the Family Allowance Fund published in 2014, and identified by Releasethe organization, which was based on figures from 2013, had claimed that “almost all (99%) of beneficiaries [de l’ARS avait] bought school supplies and 95% of the clothes”. In 2018, the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, also assured that“no serious study proves[ait] that the ARS is actually used by families for purposes other than back-to-school expenses”.