Labour ‘plans to axe discounted business rates for private schools’

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

Labour is planning to scrap discounted business rates for private schools and charge VAT on fees if it comes to power, according to a leaked document.

The policy is estimated to have the potential to bring in £1.64 billion a year, according to the Daily Telegraph, which has seen the shadow Treasury memo.

The plans drawn up by shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s team are part of Labour’s “preparing for government” strategy in anticipation of an early election, according to the newspaper.

The plans have been drawn up by shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s team as part of Labour’s ‘preparing for government’ strategy (Yui Mok/PA)

Labour proposed in its 2017 manifesto that it would introduce free school meals for all primary students, funded by removing the VAT exemption from private school fees.

But ending the historic business rates exemption that independent schools have been able to claim as charities appears to be taking the proposal further.

Labour said it does not comment on leaks.

But one source said: “Private schools help hoard wealth, power and opportunity for the few.

“We’re proud that at the last election, we said we’d tax private schools and pay for free school meals for all primary school kids.”