​Labour targets private schools - John McLellan

Anyone with children at Boroughmuir, James Gillespie’s, Royal High or any popular and already packed secondary school better prepare for a squeeze come the autumn term, judging by a bullish interview given by Labour education spokeswoman Bridget Phillipson this week.
Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Bridget PhillipsonLabour's Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson
Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson

​According to her, private schools will simply absorb the 20 per cent VAT which a Labour government will impose as one of its first moves, and the reason, she claimed, was that “private schools have already been increasing their fees by 20 per cent above inflation”.

Apart from this being complete and utter nonsense, in Ms Phillipson’s world there will be no exodus of pupils because only the massively wealthy can afford private education and being massively wealthy they won’t notice the extra cost.

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I’m presuming Ms Phillipson hasn’t either spoken or listened to Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray about what’s likely to happen in Edinburgh, where the reality for the 25 per cent of families who have opted out of the state system is somewhat different and 55 per cent expect the rise to have a significant impact on their budgets.

They’ll just cut their cloth accordingly, says a blithe Ms Phillipson, and claims it will raise over a billion to invest in mental health support for children, and presumably on similar treatment for stressed out teachers trying to keep order in crammed Portakabin classrooms.

In Edinburgh anyway, the truth about Labour is it doesn’t give a stuff about 25 per cent of the city’s school population, and the other 75 will feel the effect.

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