Sunday, June 23, 2024

Labour’s VAT raid: ‘I already work two jobs and cannot fathom a third’

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Parents are facing a higher cost of private education if Labour wins the next general election.

Labour is planning to add 20 per cent VAT to independent school fees as soon as possible if victorious, a proposal which it estimates will raise an extra £1.6 billion for pupils in the state system.

The tax raid would affect nearly three-quarters of private school families, the Saltus Wealth Index found. 

Almost a third – 29 per cent – of those parents said the rising costs mean they would no longer be able to give their child or children a private education.

From fleeing the country to resorting to homeschooling, The Telegraph has spoken to readers who are among those who face removing their children from private schools as a consequence of the rising costs. 

‘A vicious attack’

Jon*, mid-fifties, has reached the point where he is “seriously considering” homeschooling his seven-year-old daughter. 

A solicitor and decorated former member of the Armed Forces, Jon went to a state school himself and says, “I’m what perhaps Monty Python or The Two Ronnies might have referred to as aspiring lower middle class.”

Although three of Jon’s children, all of whom are now grown up, went through the state school system and have done very well for themselves, the same is not the case for his youngest daughter.

Unlike Jon’s older children, he describes his daughter, 7, as “shy, private, small and sensitive”. She attended state school for two years in the Bedfordshire area, where they live, but she “was just too little, too quiet and her school reports were just dreadful”, explains Jon. 

“She’s a loving child, sensitive, very sweet, perceptive but this really wasn’t working for her,” he continues. Consequently, Jon turned to the local independent school where she has “slotted in really well”. He speaks of how “the teachers are fantastic, the classroom sizes are much smaller and the children are that much more patient”.

“I don’t remember crying when my mum died, or at the aspects of suffering in Afghanistan, but I cried when the independent school called to say she had a place for the next school year,” he shares. 

Since then, she has become “an independent-minded, very confident, very able young person. Having the choice to put her in an independent school has made a dramatic improvement”.

However, on top of the already increasing school fees, the 20 per cent will make the difference between Jon struggling to keep up with the fees and not being able to afford them. 

“I will do my very best to see my daughter through prep school,” he says. “But with the increases in the pipeline, that basically wipes out my entire earnings.”

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