ISC CEO warns of 'sharp shock' for more parents if Labour impose school fee VAT policy

Posted on: 28 Mar 2023
Posted by: Julie Robinson

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), was interviewed yesterday on BBC Radio Surrey about Labour's plans to tax school fees and the likely impact on state schools, notably in the Surrey area.

During the interview, reference was made to research by the ISC, which suggests around a quarter of independent pupils would have to switch to the state sector if Labour's plan was to come into effect. Speaking to broadcaster James Cannon, Ms Robinson warned "the sharp shock of VAT on school fees would make the fees more unaffordable for more parents". In response to Mr Cannon's question of whether families would really be deterred by the addition of VAT, Ms Robinson said: "Yes, I think so, because the sharp shock of VAT on school fees would make the fees more unaffordable for more parents and, as you say, one in five students in the county attends an independent school so it could disrupt education for thousands of pupils. So we think it could cause a reduction in achieving first place offers for a third (about 32 per cent) and lead to oversubscription of school places by over five thousand."

Responding to Mr Cannon's question about rising school fees, in which he said prices have gone up 'astronomically' by 20 per cent, Ms Robinson explained that they have risen over time, but that it is gradual, with the average fee rises year on year approximately three per cent. "To suddenly put on VAT at 20 per cent would be just too much pressure", she added.

2023_03_28 BBC Radio Surrey James Cannon