Over at CentreForum’s blog, LibDemVoice Co-Editor Stephen Tall has named columnist Matthew Parris the inaugural winner of the think-tank’s ‘Liberal of the Week’ for ‘his attack on the charitable status of private schools that are bastions of privilege.’ Here’s an excerpt from Stephen’s reasons:
The fact that private schools are directly equated with charities such as Cancer Research UK and Oxfam – and can therefore benefit from rates relief and exemption from tax on investment income – is breathtaking. It means that the low-paid in society – including those earning less than the minimum wage – are helping to subsidise through their taxes the school fees of the better-off in society to the tune of an estimated £100 million each and every year.
If private schools are to be classed as charities a much simpler, more straightforward test of ‘public benefit’ should apply: are they willing to educate any child subject only to a fair admissions policy which treats all children equally regardless of their household income? …
Too many politicians are too scared of the reaction from the right-wing press – and from middle-class parents – to feel able to call for an end to this state sponsorship of continuing educational inequality. So kudos to Matthew Parris for using his platform at the Thunderer to advance this particular liberal cause.
You can read Stephen’s post in full at CentreForum’s blog here. Stephen will be running the ‘Liberal of the Week’ (and ‘Liberal Villain of the Month’) awards, and nominations are actively invited: suggestions to Stephen are welcome by email or Twitter.
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