As he threatens 20% tax on school fees…It emerges that Keir Starmer sent his children to a ‘state prep for the middle class’
- Labour has a plan to strip private schools of their charitable status if elected
- The move would mean British private schools would have to pay 20 per cent VAT
- Sir Keir Starmer reportedly sent his children to a ‘prep school for middle classes’
The row over Labour’s ‘class war’ plan to add VAT to private school fees deepened last night after it emerged that Sir Keir Starmer sent his children to a primary school which has been described as a ‘state-run prep school for the middle classes’.
The move to strip private schools of their charitable status – meaning their fees will be subject to 20 per cent VAT – triggered a political storm after it was highlighted in last week’s Mail on Sunday, with experts warning that tens of thousands of pupils would have to switch to state schools because their parents would be priced out.
But critics have pointed out that when they were younger, Sir Keir’s children benefited from attending Eleanor Palmer Primary School, in Camden, North London, where the catchment area was recently down to just 182 yards.
Admission to the school, where his wife Victoria was a governor, has been described as ‘selection by house price’, because properties nearby sell for in excess of £2 million.
It has emerged that Sir Keir Starmer sent his children to a primary school which has been described as a ‘state-run prep school for the middle classes’
The school has earned a reputation for being a hotspot for pushy middle-class parents. One local said that the catchment area covered ‘roughly the length of Roman Abramovich’s yacht’.
Some say that parents who object to private schooling can ‘play the system’ through the property market to secure an elite state education, with some parents renting rooms above shops so they can apply to send their children to the school.
Labour’s plan to push up the cost of school fees has infuriated the private sector, which says this will lead to scores of schools closing.
Supporters of private schools argue that they save the Treasury an estimated £4.4 billion which it would otherwise have to spend on state education. They also contribute £5.1 billion in tax revenue.
In 2015, parents criticised Camden councillors for not stopping parents from renting temporary homes to win school places.
Writer Giles Coren, whose four-year-old daughter was unable to attend a primary school 200 yards from their home, said: ‘All Labour has found to say about the last two governments is that its representatives went to private school, so are b******s.
Robin Walker, the Tory chairman of the Education Committee, said: ‘The biggest disparity in education is between London and everywhere else’
‘For years we have had an Opposition based on bigotry about background. We’ve all gone along with it.’ In the end, he was forced to send his daughter to a private school.
Robin Walker, the Tory chairman of the Education Committee, said: ‘The biggest disparity in education is between London and everywhere else. So having a proper, fairer funding system would help correct that, but in the meantime it is effectively selection by postcode.
‘Those who can afford to live in expensive areas do end up getting their children to better schools, which is no fairer.’
A Labour source said: ‘The Starmers use the local state school, like most parents. No favours have been called in and they didn’t move to get in. To assert anything like that would be false.
‘To draw equivalence between the luck of living near a good school and the Party position on private schools is nonsensical.
‘Labour is not against private schools. We are against private schools getting a tax break, in the name of fairness.’