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Labour’s plan for VAT on private schools highlights inequalities | Private schools

Labour’s plan for VAT on private schools highlights inequalities | Private schools
Labour’s plan for VAT on private schools highlights inequalities | Private schools


I’m writing as a hard-working GP in the NHS. I’ve voted Labour in the past but I will not be voting for Labour in this election. I do not agree with Labour’s VAT on private schools policy (What are Labour’s plans for ending tax breaks for private schools?, 29 May). I believe there is an angle that Keir Starmer hasn’t considered, which will have a significant impact on less privileged rural communities such as where I work in north Devon.

I moved to a low socioeconomic area to provide good healthcare for the community, as my father did in the 1980s. My children do not attend the local state school as I do not feel it would provide them with a good education. They attend the excellent private day school that is nurturing them exactly as I could ever wish for.

If Labour puts VAT on private schools then professionals like me will have to consider moving back to the more privileged areas where there are better-quality state schools for our children. The low socioeconomic areas will suffer as it will be even harder to recruit GPs and other professionals.

Our children’s school is excellent and educates many children of hard-working professionals like me. I work extra shifts in the NHS to help me pay the fees. I am very concerned about the impact of Labour’s policy on our rural poorer areas.
Dr Elizabeth Shawcross
Umberleigh, Devon

There is a gap in your analysis of the implications of Labour’s VAT plan. More than 100,000 children with special educational needs are currently being nurtured very well in independent schools, many of them through great sacrifice by their parents together with bursary support. When a large number of them are forced by the VAT imposition into an under-resourced state special needs system that is already in deep crisis (School leaders warn of ‘full-blown’ special needs crisis in England, 4 May), the outcome will be disastrous for those children and their families. I cannot vote for a party that is prepared to inflict this human damage in its ill-considered pursuit of low-hanging electoral fruit.
William Rees
Brompton Regis, Somerset

I continue to be upset by the coverage of Labour’s proposal to introduce VAT on private school fees, which focuses on how this would disproportionately affect special educational needs (SEN) children who currently attend private schools (‘Is it fair? No. Is it morally right? Yes.’: parents on private school fee VAT plans, 3 June).

Absent from this discussion is the fact that most SEN children in the UK are already attending those state schools that better-off parents are now worried about their children being forced to attend. SEN children from the poorest backgrounds have less support and harder lives outside of school and will continue to be more disadvantaged regardless, but they don’t exist in this conversation. If more middle-class voters are forced to confront the inequalities of education, this is surely a good thing for everyone.
Isaac Woolley

Sir Keir Starmer’s positive education initiatives include recruiting more teachers and mental health staff in schools; promoting sport, the arts, speaking and oracy; breakfast clubs; apprenticeship routes to employment; changing league tables and Ofsted. Of course, I hope the UK doesn’t become the only European country to tax education. However, as headmaster of Sir Keir’s old school, I know the independent sector and we support proposals to improve children’s access to a great education. We are ready to help.
Shaun Fenton
Reigate grammar school

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