PMQs watch live: Rishi Sunak faces Keir Starmer
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Up to 200 private schools may be forced to close if Labour takes away the charitable status of private schools, it has been reported. It will mean that private schools will lose their 20 percent tax break, worth around £1.6billion and will have to pay £104million in business rates.
GB News host Dan Wootton criticised the intended policy on Monday evening and said: “Labour has been accused of trying to deprive families out of private education after Keir Starmer vowed to scrap public school’s charitable status.
“He said he would retain Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist policy that would force independent institutions to start charging 20 percent on VAT on school fees, making it unaffordable for an estimated 90,000 pupils.
“The Labour leader, who was a student at Reigate Grammar School when it became a fee-paying institution, has vowed to use the tax revenue to fund a school catch-up programme.”
Mr Wootton was joined by Daily Express columnist Carole Malone and political editor for both the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, Nigel Nelson to discuss the labour policy.
He asked the guest panellists: “Is this proof that Slippery Starmer is a Corbynite in disguise?”
Carole Malone said: “This is much more vindictive and sinister than just the politics of envy, if he does this…this is straight from the Corbyn playbook. If he does this, he’s going to destroy a generation of children.”
The journalist acknowledged that “well-off people” also send their children to private schools, but argued that Labour’s policy will target middle-class families.
She said: “There are also a lot of parents who aren’t the least bit well-off who scrimp and save and don’t have holidays and don’t get a new car.
“They sacrifice everything, and those kids…will be loaded into state schools which are already overstressed with massive classroom sizes.”
Mr Wootton described the Labout policy as an “attack on the middle classes” and added: “We’re not talking about the super wealthy here, who wouldn’t even think about another 20 percent [on their school fees].”
Ms Malone said: “The stupid thing is, these schools which have charitable status do great things for the state schools in their area, they give money, they give advice and help them.
The journalist added: “[Keir Starmer is] forever telling us that his Dad was a tool maker and struggled to send him to school and pay for his education and yet he’s going to deprive a whole generation of kids of exactly what he had.
“I know a lot of people will say ‘you know, kids in state schools should get a great education’ and yes they should!
“However, people like Starmer should be thinking about bettering state schools than actually taking away from schools that are already doing really well.”
Political Editor Nigel Nelson disagreed with both journalists, and Mr Wootton asked him: ”Nigel Nelson you love this policy, why?”
Mr Nelson replied: “I do! Simply because I think everyone has the right to spend their money as they wish, whether it’s on private health or private education but the taxpayer should not be the one to subsidise that choice.
“What is happening here is that we are losing a lot of money, the 20 percent obviously, and VAT because of the charitable status of these schools.”
Mr Nelson was also sceptical of the 90,000 estimated figure of pupils Mr Wootton said would be affected by the policy.
The Editor said: “You plucked the figure of 90,000 would end up back into the state system, we can’t know that, we can’t know how people will behave.”
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