Private schools would be stripped of £700 million in tax breaks if Labour is elected, under plans being drawn up by Ed Miliband.
The “class war” proposal could add up to £200 a year to the cost of a private school education.
Tristram Hunt, the shadow Education Secretary, is expected to outline plans to “claw back” relief given to private schools from paying local authority business rates.
More than 2,000 private schools across Britain can claim up to 80 per cent cut in their business rates because they are charities, worth around £150 million annually.
Mr Hunt will say that a Labour government will legislate to ensure the schools only qualify for this “subsidy” if they pass a new “schools partnership standard”.
Sigh. They’re charities. So, they should get the same breaks (and face the same costs) as other charities. Providing education is, and has always been seen as, a justifiably charitable endeavour.
And I’d also advise being very, very, careful about how you define “school” or “education” in this sense. For I’m absolutely certain that there’s all sorts of charities out there providing some educational benefits that you don’t want to subject to this taxation because they’re run by your supporters.
But the real problem here is that it’s a gross misunderstanding of what the charitable sector is all about. This is an areas supposed to be outside such detailed and direct governmental control.
Charity is about the things the little platoons do for the little platoons. Civil society: not politically directed centralised society. Government is and should be limited to setting the general rules. You’re a charity? Here are the rules. The same rules apply whether you’re a Labour Party front organisation, a donkey sanctuary or a school.
So here, here is that hairy freckled arse: pucker up matey and then you can fuck right off.