UK’s Labour party would end private schools’ tax waiver to fund state education

Keir Starmer to say that removing independent schools’ charity status could bring in more than $2 billion

The leader of Britain’s Labour party has said that ending the charity status of private schools in England could raise £1.7 billion ($2.18bn) for state education.

Sir Keir Starmer said introducing value-added tax on tuition fees and removing the discount on business rates would bring in £1.6 billion and £104 million, respectively.

“Labour wants every parent to be able to send their child to a great state school. But improving them to benefit everyone costs money. That’s why we can't justify continued charitable status for private schools,” he will say at the left-of-centre party’s conference.

Mr Starmer said the pandemic had increased the gap in attainment between the children of wealthy and poor families.

He called for the curriculum to place a greater emphasis on digital skills, practical work, sport and the arts, to ensure pupils are “equipped for life”.

Mr Starmer is also keen to boost financial literacy with lessons on pension planning, credit scores and mortgages.

“Every child should leave education ready for work and ready for life,” he said.

“Employers all around the country, in every sector, have told me how much they need well-rounded young people with relevant skills, literate in technology, equipped for life. And young people have told me how ambitious they are for their own futures.

“That’s why Labour would create an education system that would give every child the skills for the future.”

Mr Starmer said an additional £250 million would be made available to help the 65,000 16 and 17-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training.

Updated: September 26th 2021, 5:58 PM