‘No magic wand’ to recruit more teachers as Starmer insists removing ‘tax breaks’ for private schools is ‘tough choice’

18 June 2024, 09:35 | Updated: 18 June 2024, 10:13

Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC
Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour's policy to end the VAT exemption for independent schools is a "tough choice" but said there is no "magic wand" to recruit more teachers in the state sector.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Labour has pledged to remove private schools’ exemption of paying 20% VAT if it wins the general election and hopes to raise about £1.5bn a year to increase investment into state schools.

Sir Keir has repeatedly said he respects the decision of parents to send their children to private schools, though said 6,500 more teachers are needed in state schools.

The Labour leader was taken to task over Labour's plans to remove the tax break for private schools as he spoke exclusively to LBC's Nick Ferrari.

Nick Ferrari questions Keir Starmer on how Labour will pay for teachers in schools with SEND pupils

Michelle Catterson, head of Moon Hall School in Reigate, which caters for dyslexic children, told us she thinks the policy means Labour does not care about youngsters with special needs.

Sir Keir replied: "Well, Michelle, we do care. I want every single child, whether they go to private or state school, to have the same opportunities. It really matters to me."

He said Labour's policy would provide an exemption for children who have a plan in place and cannot get the help they need in the state sector, and promised to respond to a letter the headteacher had sent him.

"There is no magic wand," Sir Keir told LBC, adding that it was a "tough choice".

Read More: 'It would be foolish to write five years worth of budgets now': Starmer refuses to rule out council tax rises under Labour

During this morning's phone-in, Sir Keir repeatedly insisted the economy was in a "difficult state", which means the party is not able to do as much as it would like should it win the election.

This includes a decision not to scrap the two-child benefit cap, which experts say could lift one million children out of poverty.

"I know how strongly Gordon Brown feels strongly about it. One of the problems in politics is before an election people promise to do a b and c and after they don't do. I want a different approach," Sir Keir told Nick.

Pressed by Nick on why the cap will not be lifted when Reform UK's Nigel Farage has pledged to do so, Sir Keir hit back and said their manifesto is not fully funded.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's GoFundMe page hits £70k after teen's mum appeals for funeral donations

Holidaymakers have been left stranded during global IT outage

'We're not being given any information': Furious holidaymaker stranded in Rhodes tells of travel hell after IT outage

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Further unrest in Leeds as hundreds take to streets to 'demand return of children' allegedly removed from local family

NHS England has warned of "continued disruption" to GP services into next week.

NHS warns of GP disruption after global IT outage as trains, planes and roads remain in chaos leaving Brits stranded

Planes, trains and roads have been hit by travel chaos following Friday's IT outage.

Holiday hell: Trains, planes and roads in chaos after global IT outage - with thousands of Brits stranded abroad

Graham Gomm

Prisoner who escaped custody at HMP Wormwood Scrubs during hospital trip is arrested following manhunt

Charles and Camilla attend the King's Parade outside Pomme d'Or Hotel, Liberation Square in St Helier, Jersey

Charles and Camilla 'rushed to safety by security' after suspect 'spotted on roof' just days after Trump rally shooting

A highway bridge collapsed in northwest China.

At least 12 people dead and more than 30 missing after China bridge collapses due to flooding

Ray Reardon has died

Snooker legend Ray Reardon dies aged 91 after cancer battle

Steve Baker and Tom Tugendhat

Top Tory reveals why he is backing Tom Tugendhat to 'put the party back together' as leader

The National Lottery site and app is down

National Lottery down as users unable to access site and app day after global IT outage

Thousands of flights were cancelled across the globe on Friday.

Travel misery continues as global IT outage 'could take weeks to clear' - with over 5,000 flights cancelled worldwide

Nadiya Bychkova allegedly made a complaint to Strictly bosses

Strictly pro Nadiya Bychkova breaks silence over 'complaint' amid misconduct scandal

An independent review has recommended teachers and nurses get 5.5% pay rises

Teachers and nurses among millions of public sector workers that should get 5.5% pay rise, ministers told

Tom Tugendhat

Two top Tories back Tom Tugendhat to be next Conservative leader