Jean-Michel Blanquer, the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports, hinted on Sunday on France 3 that the back-to-school allowance was sometimes used for pleasure purchases.
Three million low-income families in France received the back-to-school allowance in August. This financial aid of just under 400 euros per child is intended to help them pay for school supplies. But the same refrain comes up every year, saying that this allowance is used for other purposes, for pleasure purchases.
The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, himself mentioned it on Sunday August 29 on France 3.
“If we look at things in the face, we know that there are sometimes larger purchases of flat screens in September than at other times,” says the minister.
He was questioned about the proposal from a member of the MoDem, Perrine Goulet, to pay this allowance in the form of countermark, on the model of restaurant vouchers, to “dedicate the best interests of children”. “It’s an interesting idea that deserves to be studied,” reacted the Minister of Education.
No data on the use of aids
However, there is nothing to confirm that the back-to-school allowance paid on a means-tested basis is used for purposes other than additional expenses related to the back-to-school period, such as the purchase of supplies, clothing, or even registration. in the canteen and extracurricular activities. Families receiving aid do not in fact have to account for the use they make of it.
One 2013 survey, commissioned by the National Family Allowance Fund (Cnaf) from OpinionWay, allows you to learn a little more about how the money is spent by the beneficiaries of the aid. At the time, 95% of parents surveyed said they had used this aid for school supplies, and 89% for clothes for their children. Results to be taken with caution, the survey based on statements from a small sample of 2009 recipients.
No surge in demand for high-tech objects in September
Regarding televisions, cited as an example by Jean-Michel Blanquer, demand does not increase particularly in September, according to data collected by Idealo, the leader in price comparison and buying guides. In 2020, demand was even less strong in August and September, just after the payment of the back-to-school allowance, than in July.
For these devices, and generally for all high-tech products, the peak period of activity occurs at the end of the year, particularly in November during Black Friday operations. Demand is also very strong in December and January, around the holiday season. Contacted by BFM, several distributors preferred not to comment on the statements of the Minister of Education.
It is therefore impossible to assert that the back-to-school allowance is used for purposes other than that for which it is intended. To avoid abuse, several political figures have demanded that the payment of up to 400 euros per child be replaced by vouchers. But all these proposals were rejected.
In 2017, Agnès Buzyn, then Minister of Health, said that this measure would be more expensive and restrictive for families, traders, but also for the State.
“In addition to the costs linked to the creation of a new medium, there would be a new financial circuit that would have to be set up with a large number of partners (local shops, large brands, etc.), which would require costly investments in information system and negotiation with new partnerships”, explained the Ministerrecalling that no “serious study” proves the misuse of the back-to-school allowance.