Independent Schools Council says Labour's plan to introduce VAT on private school fees to pay for free school meals would be 'counter-productive'

Posted on 6th Apr 2017 in Independent Education, Independent Schools Council

The Independent Schools Council has responded to the Labour Party's proposal to extend free school means to all primary school pupils by introducing VAT on independent school fees.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also said he had not ruled out reviewing the charitable status of independent schools, as reported here by the BBC.

Julie Robinson, general secretary of the ISC, said: "The sums for this proposed policy do not add up and would be counter-productive. A third of pupils at our schools are on reduced fees and are from families where both parents work hard to pay the fees. If this measure was introduced smaller independent schools may close, driving more children back to be funded in the state system. Half a million children are educated in independent schools, saving the state £3 billion.

"Independent schools are fully aware of their social responsibility and offer free and reduced cost places to children from lower income homes. They also partner with state schools to offer support with sciences and languages, A levels and university access, as well as sport and music. But independent schools educate 7% of pupils at 1,300 schools, many of which are small, and independent schools cannot be expected to solve the problems of 25,000 state schools. Independent schools generate £3.6 billion in tax and contribute £9.5 billion to the economy."

Learn more about the Independent Schools Council by visiting its page on School Search.