Labour look to force vote on ending private schools’ tax breaks | Private schools


Labour will attempt to force a binding vote on ending private schools’ tax breaks and use the £1.7bn a year raised from this to drive new teacher recruitment.

The motion submitted by Keir Starmer’s party for the opposition day debate on Wednesday is drafted to push the charitable status scheme that many private schools enjoy to be investigated, as the party attempts to shift the political focus on to education.

It comes as the party released fresh statistics highlighting the state of teaching staff, with Labour analysis of official figures from the Department for Education revealing that there were 36,262 teachers who left the profession in 2020/21, compared with only 34,394 starters on initial teacher training, leaving a shortfall of 1,868.

Labour’s motion seeks to create a new House of Commons select committee on the fair taxation of schools and education standards to investigate reforming the tax benefits enjoyed by private schools and investing the proceeds on a new national excellence programme.

Bridget Phillipson MP, the shadow education secretary, says the party will invest the money raised from tax breaks to hire 6,500 additional teachers, “reducing workloads and driving up to standards in all our state schools through our national excellence programme”.

She adds: “Labour recognises that after 13 years of Conservative economic mismanagement, which culminated in the Conservatives crashing the economy last year, tough choices must be made to protect public finances – but the choice facing MPs today is easy.

“Conservative MPs can either vote to deliver a brilliant state education for every child or they vote against the interests of parents across this country who aspire for better for their children, especially those in the very regions their party pledged to ‘level up’.”

Labour will hope the motion will force the government to make its MPs vote down an issue, rather than ignoring the process. A Labour source has previously said: “Conservative MPs voting against our motion are voting against higher standards in state schools for the majority of children in our country.”

A government spokesperson said the number of teachers “remains high”, with 24,000 more working in state schools than in 2010, while bursaries and levelling up premiums were helping attract new entrants to subjects like maths, science and computing.



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