ISC CEO responds to IFS report on tax, school fees and state sector spending

Posted on: 11 Jul 2023
Posted by: Julie Robinson

ISC has today responded to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that looked into tax, independent school fees and state school spending.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report compares compares school fees and state school spending. It also examines Labour’s proposals to remove tax exemptions from independent schools.

The IFS estimates that removing tax exemptions from independent schools would raise around £1.6 billion a year in extra tax revenue. If pupils move from the independent to the state sector, state schools will require extra funding. According to the report, it would be "reasonable to assume a range of somewhere between a 3 per cent and 7% fall in private school attendance (or about 20,000–40,000 pupils) as a result of a 15 per cent effective VAT rate.

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), said the number of pupils leaving independent schools will rise if Labour comes into power. In a statement to the media, Ms Robinson said: “The IFS itself admits its calculations on pupil movement are uncertain and based on limited evidence – we believe the number moving from independent schools will be much higher in practice.”

Ms Robinson was also interviewed by Martin Standford on LBC News following the publication of a report by think tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies' (IFS) on the possible impact of Labour's plans to tax independent school fees. Ms Robinson said the pattern of change to schools who might be forced to close is very hard to predict, but warned that all sectors of education would be affected, not just independent schools. Ultimately, "what this is genuinely about is children", Ms Robinson explained.

Notes to editors The author of the IFS report is Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the IFS. Read the report here.

2023_07_11 LBC News Martin Stanford