David Miliband: End private school charity status

By politics.co.uk staff

Private schools should have their charitable status withdrawn, according to Labour leadership hopeful David Miliband.

Mapping out his thoughts in an email to supporters ahead of next week’s emergency Budget, Mr Miliband said: “Everyone agrees tough decisions have to be made on public spending over the coming years. But I am absolutely clear that the poorest in our society should not be forced to pay the price for the recklessness of the richest. That’s why we should look for savings at the top, not the bottom.

“For instance, the idea of taking money from the poorest children – by scrapping the child trust fund, even from kids in care – while continuing to subsidise private schools to the tune of £100m a year is just wrong. That’s half a billion pounds over the lifetime of a parliament. We should be looking at savings like that rather than cutting jobs and hospitals.”

Independent and private schools are allowed charitable status on the basis that they provide some public benefit to the community, usually by opening up facilities – even if they sometimes charge.

Many groups feel the status, enshrined in law under the Charities Act 2006, is drastically unfair, giving an extra £225 per child to schools which are already well-off and successful.

Meanwhile, Diane Abbott, also running for the leadership, was busy trying to explain her decision to send her son to a private school, despite campaigning against them for her entire career. Having once admitted the decision was intellectually incoherent, she took a more generous approach to her actions, saying she would “sacrifice anything” for her child.

“That school was the making of him,” she added.