INCREASING numbers of savvy mums and dads are giving their children hand-me-down school uniforms instead of buying new clothes, businesses have said.

Clothing alteration firms have reported a rise in the number of customers asking for alterations to old and new school uniforms in a bid to save cash.

Companies including ZipYard, which has shops in Haywards Heath and Brighton, told The Argus more parents are decking out their children in altered garments than ever before as the new school term starts.

Simon Gurner, owner of The ZipYard in Haywards Heath, said: “Buying new school uniform each year can be very expensive, especially if there are several children in the family.

“Kids grow so quickly they have grown out of their uniform before it is hardly worn, so it makes sense to hand down uniform to younger siblings.

“The cost of alterations or repair is always far less than buying new.”

Alma Munslow, of Alma’s Alterations in Church Street, Brighton, said: “I’m not sure on the exact figures but we’ve definitely seen an increase compared to last year.

“We’ve had about 15 customers wanting alterations to school uniform over the summer, but they’ve not all been ‘hand-me-downs’.

“A few are also buying new clothes that a child can grow into, so they are getting them altered to fit initially and will get them altered again when the child grows.“Either way, parents are looking to save money.”

A staff member at Cut & Stitch in Winchester Road, Worthing, said more customers were buying larger sized uniform in a bid to make them last for more than a year.

She said: “We’ve not had many hand-me-downs but what we are noticing is parents who buy larger size clothing, who then ask us to alter it to fit their child, before altering it back when the child grows through the years.”

A Freedom of Information request recently revealed Brighton and Hove City Council last offered financial support to parents for school uniforms in 2010.

It gave £270 for three children in the 2009/2010 financial year.