Labour drops key pledge to end private schools' charitable status | The Sun

SIR Keir Starmer has u-turned on a key pledge to strip private schools of their charitable status. 

Labour will still sting them for VAT but now thinks removing other charity-linked benefits is unnecessary. 

As charities, independent schools receive a range of perks including swerving tax on annual profits and business rates relief. 

This is separate from their VAT exemption – awarded to all educational organisations – which Labour has vowed to scrap to raise money.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson only recently called for private schools to lose their charitable status. 

But Labour sources last night confirmed the party has dropped the policy after concluding the double-whammy was too far.



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They said: “This has never been about attacking private schools, and making them pay VAT is enough to fund the policies we have announced. So we don’t need to remove charitable status too.” 

Levying VAT on private schools could whack as much as 20 per cent more on to parents' fees.

Labour estimates it could raise £1.7billion annually which it wants to spend on state schools

The climbdown is the latest in a series of u-turns committed by Sir Keir since becoming leader.

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Labour has also vowed to make private schools pay business rates as well as VAT

The money raised is earmarked for “improving standards and opportunities for the over nine in 10 children attending state schools”. 

Yesterday former PM Gordon Brown backed the policy and said he looked at it when in government.

He told Times Radio: "You've got to have a very good argument about why private schools should be exempt from the VAT.

"We don't exempt most other things from value added tax, and it's what we might have done when we were in government and certainly looked at it at the time. I think probably this is the right time to do this.”

Tory chief secretary to the Treasury John Glen said: "Labour has been forced to u-turn on one of their major policies – this time admitting that their schools tax hike just doesn’t work. They are just making it up as they go long.

“Keir Starmer is clearly only interested in short term policies designed to grab headlines, without any regard for the consequences – and inevitably has flip-flopped on them."

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