Etonian backs Starmer over 'absurd' charitable status for private schools

12 July 2022, 13:14

Etonian blasts Tories over 'absurd, subsidised' charitable status for private schools
The Etonian blasted the Tories for wanting people to "retain wealth" . Picture: Alamy

By Maddie Wilson

This LBC caller, who went to Eton, blasts the Government for allowing private schools to maintain a charitable status, branding it "absurd."

It comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer vows to end this categorisation for private schools should he become Prime Minister.

The current status means independent schools are exempt from VAT.

The Labour leader has previously said that he wants the money raised from charging private schools VAT, to help provide additional money to help state schools.

Sir Keir said: "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."

Caller Jay from Winchester, whose parents spent £500,000 on his and his brother's education, urges that "of course" Eton should pay VAT.

"Yes they let the schools open in the summer for other children, yes they have some bursary scholarships, but to say that a large part of what they do is charity when they own huge swathes of London property portfolio...it's absurd."

He told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that his school has an art collection and also owns one of the 48 surviving copies of a Gutenberg Bible, estimated to be worth between £20 million and £30 million.

The caller continued: "If they're going to charge 20% more to parents to send their kids there, I don't want those parents to have to pay that, but if they're forking out, possibly as my parents did, £250,000 per child...it's just ugly, frightening amounts of money."

Despite attending Eton, Jay told LBC he is not intending to send his 2 year old to a private school, prioritising instead his child "learning social skills and kindness."

"There's a problem in this country where you get a lot of people at one end who say, and it's probably a frightening number of people, who say we should abolish private schools as they want a level playing field.

"You don't say everyone should drive the same car or be limited to what they buy, I think there should be a free market. The problem is at the other end of the spectrum, you get this nauseating view of people who think these types of schools are better.

"There are great states schools just like there are great private schools - the problem of course is the funding from the Government doesn't go into the majority of where people attend, which is the state schools.

"Ultimately, if money keeps being subsidised for people to go to more expensive schools, it will still retain this level of aspiration which the Tory Party trumpets as a reason to vote for them.

"The Tory Party create it as a fundamental right to want to have more money and to conserve your money...to keep hold of what you have."

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