Accusations and Class War Allegations
Rishi Sunak accuses Labour of igniting a ‘class war’ through their commitment to impose VAT on private school fees.
The Prime Minister claims that this move would unfairly target hard-working parents striving to send their children to independent schools.
Labour’s Unwavering Policy
Despite facing criticism, Labour’s education spokesman remains steadfast in support of the policy, emphasizing that private schools might need to implement ‘cutbacks’ in response to the proposed VAT hike.
Bridget Phillipson, Shadow education secretary, suggested that schools should explore cost-saving measures to accommodate this tax increase, intending to utilize the resulting funds to elevate state school standards.
Misunderstanding of Aspirations
Rishi Sunak voices his disapproval of Labour’s approach, arguing that it demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the aspirations of families working diligently to provide better opportunities for their children.
He believes that Labour’s strategy seeks to penalize these families in what he perceives as a class-based conflict.
Labour’s VAT Stance
Labour has altered its initial plan to revoke private schools’ charitable status but remains resolute in its intention to introduce VAT on their fees.
This policy change could impose financial burdens on families as early as the following September. Labour relies on a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, suggesting that these tax adjustments could generate up to £1.5 billion annually.
Shaun Fenton, the headteacher of Reigate Grammar, Sir Keir Starmer’s former school, contests the effectiveness of abolishing VAT relief on school fees.
He anticipates that this added tax burden could push numerous children into the state education system, as parents may find the increased fees unaffordable.
Fenton contends that this measure will not address educational challenges.
Labour responds to Rishi Sunak’s accusations by characterizing him as ‘out of touch’ with the concerns of ordinary families.
Bridget Phillipson emphasizes that their goal is to end tax breaks for private schools in order to invest in high-quality state education.
She suggests that the decision on whether to transfer the cost to parents lies with the private schools themselves.