Clobber private schools and it's another disincentive for people that achieve great things, says Mark Dolan

Keir Starmer 'has made the regrettable decision to clobber private schools with taxes, that could cause some to go under, and will price thousands of kids out' says Mark Dolan


Sir Keir Starmer is looking increasingly likely to be our next prime minister, which is why we should take seriously, the things he says he will do.

And he has rehabilitated his party impressively well – tackling the evil of antisemitism and curtailing the hard left. So it’s arguably his to lose at this stage.

But this man who campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister, which would have been a national security and economic disaster, still has some unwelcome remnants of Corbynism in his policy platform.

He has made the regrettable decision to once again play the politics of envy, and start a class war, with a headline grabbing plan, to clobber private schools with taxes, that could cause some to go under, and will price thousands of kids out.

Under the Labour plan, private schools will lose their charitable status and pay 20% VAT on fees, something ex Labour leader Tony Blair wouldn’t dream of doing. So what does this all mean?

Well it's feared upwards of 90,000 pupils would exit the private sector and need a state education, as fees become unaffordable to families.

So who are these 90,000 families, that would be impacted, by this spiteful and regressive tax? Well they're not rich highflyers, they're not Russian oligarchs, they are humble Brits, working hard, doing extra hours, skipping holidays and fancy cars and investing in their children.

They are thinking big and they are aspiring, not two themes that look likely, under a Labour government, if Starmer gets in. So his policy will disproportionately impact families on lower incomes, but who managed to scrape together enough, to educate their kids privately.

Private schools in my view must have charitable status, because they are outlets of education– – they are teaching the next generation of kids. And it's in all of our interests for state schools and private schools to exist and do a brilliant job.

British private schools are world-renowned and some of the greatest high-achievers flock to the UK, in the knowledge that their offspring will get a great education.

Clobber private schools and it's another disincentive for people that achieve great things, to come and do that here in Britain. In some cases these schools have hundreds of years of history, having produced engineers, artists scientists and even prime ministers.

And in this act of intellectual and cultural vandalism, a Labour government who are effectively slapping a tax on learning.

Starmer was a pupil at Reigate Grammar School when it transitioned into a fee-paying institution, so he comes from private school.

The local authority paid his fees, but a private education it was, nonetheless. Jeremy Corbyn went to private school too, of course he did.

Even Labour’s ultra socialist Diane Abbot – a pillar of the left – a progressive icon, left her principles at the school gates, when she sent HER son, to a top private school.

You couldn’t make it up. Starmer says that the money raised will go into state schools. But the problem, is that the tens of thousands of kids evicted from the private sector, will be going into state schools too.

Where are those 90,000 school places, going to magically come from, do you suppose? Most families can’t get a good local school at the best of times, with many doing an hour commute. And the current cost of a secondary education, per pupil is around seven and a half thousand pounds.

For the predicted 90,000 kids that would leave the private sector, that's an annual bill of half a billion quid. Do you see the problem here? One step forward, two steps backwards.

Full disclosure, I was educated privately. Not my decision. Worth remembering that, when you castigate anyone that's been to an independent school.

My parents came to the UK with nothing, ran a pub for 40 years, and scrimped, saved and borrowed, to give me the opportunity.

I challenge anyone condemning the private sector, to look my parents in the eye and tell them that their hard work, struggle and endless loans, was a bad thing and something to be ashamed of.

Or even, dare I say it, something that makes you a bad person. My kids go to a state school and it's incredible. In an ideal world, all of our kids would go to state schools.

But we don't live in an ideal world. And like so many British institutions, our education system has always been a quirky mix.

Private, grammar, academies and comprehensives. They don't need to cancel each other out, they can enhance each other.

In the end, this is a cheap policy, from a cheap opportunist leader of the opposition, which will ultimately diminish opportunities for future generations.

Labour don’t believe in choice, don't believe in competition and they don't believe in aspiration.

On the strength of this policy, my school report for the Keir Starmer is a damning one. Must try harder - see me after class. I'm giving your homework an F.

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