The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is to pledge to end the VAT exemption for private schools, according to reports.
According to the Sunday Mirror, the party will also pledge to ensure every child has a laptop at home, along with “compulsory” two weeks’ work experience for teenagers and statutory citizenship courses. Further details are yet to be released.
In an interview with the Mirror, Starmer said the country “can’t justify” the charitable status afforded to the independent school sector.
“Labour wants every parent to be able to send their child to a great state school. But improving them to benefit everyone costs money. That’s why we can’t justify continued charitable status for private schools.”
The pledge is close to one made by Labour under Starmer’s predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.
The party’s 2019 manifesto pledged to “close the tax loopholes enjoyed by elite private schools and use that money to improve the lives of all children”.
The previous pledge was a climb-down on a conference motion from 2019 which called for the redistribution of private schools’ endowments, investments and properties “democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions”.
According to the Mirror, Labour’s renewed policy, to be announced at the party’s conference in Brighton next week, would cause private schools to lose their VAT exemption “worth £1.6 billion”. Independent schools would also have to pay £104 million in business rates, the paper reported.
According to the paper, the Labour leader will also this week announce a plan to get under-25s into jobs or training and proposals to close the attainment gap.
Labour’s press office was contacted for comment.