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Increase tax on private schools to improve state education – Labour leader Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will look to raise £1.7 billion for state education by increasing the tax burden on private schools if elected prime minister.

The opposition leader told the Sunday Mirror he wanted to see a “rethink” on education and said the pandemic has increased the gap between children of wealthy and poor families.

The party is hosting its conference in Brighton, with Sir Keir’s keynote speech due on Wednesday in which he will talk about overhauling the curriculum in England, with a focus on digital skills, practical work and life skills, and sport and the arts.

This would ensure pupils are “equipped for life”, he said.

The Mirror said Labour will look to raise the money by ending the charity status of private schools, with the party saying this will bring in £1.6 billion after the removal of VAT exemption and £104 million in business rates.

Sir Keir told the paper: “Labour wants every parent to be able to send their child to a great state school.

“But improving them to benefit everyone costs money. That’s why we can’t justify continued charitable status for private schools.”

In the latest policy promise during Labour’s conference in Brighton, the party said it would reform the citizenship programme within the curriculum to include pension planning, understanding credit scores, and applying for a mortgage.

Every child would have access to a device at home through a fund available to local authorities to replace laptops and tablets given out during the pandemic.

Sir Keir said: “Every child should leave education ready for work and ready for life.

“Employers all around the country, in every sector, have told me how much they need well-rounded young people with relevant skills, literate in technology, equipped for life.

“And young people have told me how ambitious they are for their own futures.

“That’s why Labour would create an education system that would give every child the skills for the future.”

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