‘Private schools are not charities’ says Labour as it unveils plans to crackdown on tax breaks

The Labour Party has pledged to end the charitable status of independent schools to raise £1.7bn to invest in state education.

The policy was confirmed by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at the weekend and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves at the Party’s conference yesterday.

Removing charitable status from independent schools means they would lose their VAT exemption and they would have to pay business rates.

Reeves said that “right now, private schools enjoy charitable status which makes them exempt from both business rates and from VAT”.

“But, conference, here’s the truth: Private schools are not charities. And so we will end that exemption and put that money straight into our state schools. And that is what a Labour government will do”.

She added: “We will look at every single tax break. If it doesn’t deliver for the taxpayer or for the economy, then we will scrap it.”

Starmer said he wanted to “ensure that every child going through the state system has the chance to come out with the skills for life and the skills for work, and that is what this money will be used for”.

He said that this is a “political choice” to switch money from the independent sector to state schools.

Independent Schools Association chief executive Rudi Eliott Lockhart said that the plan would “increase school fees and lead to a shrinking of the independent sector, with some parents priced out and some schools forced to close as many are on very tight margins”.

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