The Labour Party has decided to abandon its proposal to end the charitable status of private schools. However, they have affirmed their commitment to eliminating other tax breaks should they emerge victorious in the next general election.

This decision comes after months of heated debate and discussions surrounding the role of private schools in the UK’s education system. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this unexpected move and explore the implications for both private schools and the Labour Party.

Sir Keir Stamer who is the leader of Labour said that- “When I say we are going to pay for kids to catch up at school, I also say it’ll be funded by removing private schools’ charitable status.” He also said- he is “very comfortable” with the private institutions, as they continue to criticize him for his policy. Sir Keir told private schools they do not have to pass the additional costs in the form of increased fees.” Also once he told BCC that- “The school doesn’t have to pass this on to the parents in fees. And each of the schools is going to have to ask themselves whether that’s what they want to do” (as also mentioned here).

A Shift in Policy

The Labour Party’s original proposal aimed to revoke the charitable status of private schools, a move that garnered both support and criticism. Proponents argued that ending the charitable status would ensure fairer access to educational opportunities, as private schools would no longer receive tax breaks in exchange for providing a limited number of bursaries and scholarships to disadvantaged students.

Julie Robinson, who is chief Executive officer of the Independent Schools Council said- “If Labour takes away the tax relief associated with charitable status for independent schools, the policy would create a two-tier system within the charity sector, setting a worrying precedent that any charity seen as not reflecting the political ideology of the day could be subject to additional taxes.“We would love to work with Labour to build more effective ways to achieve our shared goal of improving education for all young people.” (as also mentioned here). However, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson had previously spoken of “scrapping charitable tax status for private schools to fund the most ambitious state school improvement plan in a generation”. So many different people gave different thoughts on it.

The Conservative Party is branding this policy update as a U-turn, citing remarks made in 2021 by Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, who asserted, “Private schools are not charities. We will end that exemption and put that money straight into our state schools.

Published by HOLR Magazine.