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IEA - Starmer’s pledge to end charitable status for private schools shows “Corbynism is not dead”

Professor Len Shackleton, editorial and research fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs Comments on the Labour leader’s proposal to end the charitable status of private schools.

“Sir Keir Starmer’s plan to end the charitable status of private schools shows that Corbynism is not dead in the Labour Party: this was one of the former leader’s signature policies. 

“Ending charitable status will mean losing VAT exemption and entitlement to lower business rates. It will raise the cost of private education by at least 20 per cent.  

“Although class warriors will enjoy a dopamine hit, there will be a downside. Eton and Harrow, already largely funded by price-insensitive foreign parents, will continue much as before. But worse-hit will be the less glamorous independent schools – and the parents who stretch their budgets to breaking point to enable their children to attend.   

“Schools will be less able to afford scholarships for poorer pupils and the outreach work which many of them now engage in – for example Westminster School’s excellent Platform programme. 

“85 per cent of Independent Schools Council members are now in partnerships with state schools, sharing facilities and expertise: much of this may be at risk.  

“Those children forced out of private education by higher fees will likely end up in the state sector where they will cost the taxpayer an additional £6-7000 a year, reducing the gain to the Exchequer.” 


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