IEA: Opposition’s school reform proposals are a “threat to freedom”
Professor Len Shackleton comments on Labour plans
Commenting on Labour’s consideration to scrap discounted business rates for independent schools and impose VAT on fees, IEA Editorial Fellow Professor Len Shackleton said:
“This proposal is unlikely to raise the sums suggested, as some independent schools will close while others may relocate abroad – a plausible scenario given the rising proportion of overseas students at these institutions. Moreover, the costs of educating extra students in the state sector will reduce net gains to the exchequer.
“It will threaten the emergent low-cost private school sector, which offers a chance to those whose parents cannot afford the fees for Eton or Westminster. It is likely to boost demand for private tutors, and logic suggests they will be next in line for tax and regulatory intervention. The plan is ultimately a threat to the freedom to educate children as parents wish.
“The rationale is to create greater equality of educational outcome but evidence from other countries with little private education provision suggests that this is unlikely to be achieved.”
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The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
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