Labour's manifesto demands private schools prove their worth
Labour has warned that private schools could be stripped of charity status unless they form “meaningful partnerships” with state schools.
The proposal was outlined in the party’s manifesto, Britian Can Do Better, which was launched today (13 April).
Private schools cling dearly to their charity status as it allows them to save huge sums through access to business rates relief.
Labour's proposal took its place alongside a raft of measures for charity involvement in children’s services.
These include plans to continue a commitment to the National Citizen Service, reinstate Sure Start Centres and introduce a new National Primary Childcare Service – which are mostly English initiatives.
Sure Start Centres, designed to help children in areas of deprivation, proved controversial largely because of their ineffectiveness.
Private schools will be required to form a meaningful partnership with a school, or cluster of schools, in the state sector
The manifesto also said Labour would kick-start more social action and volunteering among young people by supporting the #iwill campaign of Step up to Serve and the National Citizen Service – a programme that aims to build skills for 16 and 17-year-olds.
However the document says it would crack down on business rate relief for private schools if they did not pull their weight.
The manifesto states: “Private schools currently benefit from generous state subsidies, including business rates relief worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
“We believe they should do more to contribute to raising standards in state education to justify receiving this subsidy.
“As a condition for continued business rate relief, private schools will be required to form a meaningful partnership with a school, or cluster of schools, in the state sector.”
Elsewhere the manifesto states young people out of work for a year, and those aged over 25 unemployed for two years, would be guaranteed a job. If they refuse, they would lose their benefits.
The bedroom tax would be scrapped and winter fuel payments for the richest five per cent of pensioners would be restricted.
Minimum wage rates would rise to £8 an hour by October 2019 and there would be tax rebates for firms which pay the higher living wage.
Zero hours contracts would be banned if “exploitative”.