Tory minister slammed over absurd private school fees claim

“What planet are this lot on?”


Yet another Tory minister has shown just how out of touch the Conservative Party is with the rest of the country.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, while defending the charity status of private schools, claimed that the cost of sending a child to private school can be the same as a family holiday abroad.

Her comments were in response to Labour’s plans to remove the charitable status of private schools, which means that they would lose their VAT exemption, raising £1.7bn which the party has earmarked to fund an increase in spending for state schools.

Private schools are far from charities. Some try to justify their charity status because of bursaries and scholarships given to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

However, only 4% of private school turnover is devoted to bursaries, and only 1% of private school pupils get to go for free.

Bursaries and grants are relatively low in value and distributed to only one in five of families outside the top 10% richest families, according to the research by University College London’s institute of education.

Defending the charity status of private schools, Keegan said: “Most of our private schools aren’t like Eton or Harrow – they’re far smaller and they charge a lot less.

″Many cost the same as a family holiday abroad and there’s plenty of parents who choose to forego life’s luxuries to give their children these opportunities.”

Shadow education secretary Bridget Philipson pointed out that average private school fees are around £16,000 a year – eight times the average cost of a foreign holiday.

She tweeted: “Average Private School Fees: £16k. Average Cost of Family Holiday: £2k

“It’s not just Rishi Sunak that hasn’t got a clue.

“What planet are this lot on?”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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