Scottish Liberal Democrats to oppose Labour on VAT for private school fees

The Scottish Liberal Democrats will oppose plans to impose VAT on private schools fees if Labour wins the general election.

Candidate Christine Jardine said the Labour tax move would be a “mistake” and claimed it would harm state schools.

Labour say they will raise around £1.5 billion by levying VAT and charging private schools south of the border business rates.

But critics say the tax will place huge pressure on state schools amid suggestions of an exodus of pupils from the independent sector.

Jardine, who was first elected in 2017 to serve Edinburgh West, is against the policy.

She said: “It is ill-considered and hasn’t been thought through properly.

“You are actually hitting the state sector.

“It’s not going to do anything about closing the gap in education.”

Jardine, who said she sent her child to an independent school in Glasgow, said parents who go private make “financial sacrifices”.

She said she worried the VAT policy would ensure private schools are only used by the “rich”.

She added: “If I am re-elected, I will be supporting the state sector and the independent sector in saying this is a mistake.”

Labour has denied claims thousands of pupils will move from the private sector into state schools.

Party leader Keir Starmer said recently: “I have nothing against private schools, I absolutely recognise that many parents work hard and save hard to send their children to private schools because they have aspiration for their children.

“I equally accept that every parent has aspiration for their children whether they go to private school or not.”

He added that the money generated would be ploughed into state schools, including hiring 6,500 new teachers.

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