Labour to backdate VAT on independent school fees
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said yesterday that, if they win power, the Labour Party will ensure that parents will pay VAT on independent school fees, even if they have paid in advance, by making a change to tax law.
In a speech at the Centre for Social Justice in London, Phillipson said: “George Osborne, when he made VAT changes, did something very similar. So, we’re clear there was precedent when the legislation was drawn in such a way that it is effective in raising the money that we need to invest in our state schools.”
Osborne’s changes meant that the VAT rate for goods or services provided were applied from 2011 onwards, even if invoices or prepayments had been received before then.
The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association chief executive David Woodgate said: “The number of parents who can afford to use fees in advance schemes is very small and any political focus on this niche issue is a clear attempt to exploit stereotypes about independent schools.”
Woodgate added: “Most of our parent base are from dual-income households who pay school fees each year from taxed income and it is these families who should be concentrated on: these are the people Labour’s tax on education would hit hardest.”