Starmer claims tax policy on private schools is not ideological

  • 12th September 2023

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has claimed that his party’s policy on independent school taxation is not an ideological attack, Jewish News has reported.

Starmer was answering questions from Year 6 pupils on a visit to Independent Jewish Day School in Hendon, north London – and when the subject was raised he backed the policy outlined by Labour’s education secretary Bridget Phillipson to end charitable status and impose VAT on fees.

Starmer said: “Ending the tax break is not aimed at independent schools on any ideological grounds. It’s simply trying to answer the question of, if in your state schools you don’t have teachers in basic subjects like maths,  then are you going to do anything about it?

“And if so, how are you going to pay for it? That tax break will be used to support the recruitment of 6,500 new teachers into state secondary schools in subjects like maths.

“Any parent, whether they send their child to an independent or a state school, would say every child deserves to be taught in the core subjects by a teacher who has got the relevant qualification. This is not intended as any reflection on independent schools. We want them to thrive and to work with them.

“It’s a way of ensuring we get enough good teachers into secondary schools to make sure every child has the chance to thrive. My ambition, because we will have five missions in government, and one of them is about education and skills.

“One day, if we get this right, it shouldn’t matter whether you go to independent school or state school, and that every child will have the same chance, whichever school they go to.

“That’s not to the detriment of independent schools, on the contrary, I want to make sure every child has the best chance.”

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