Private Education: VAT

Treasury written question – answered on 24th November 2022.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Autumn Statement of 17 November, Official Report, col 849, if he will publish the sources of the estimate that putting VAT on independent school fees would result in up to 90,000 children from the independent sector switching to state schools.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Many education and training services are exempt from VAT because there is a broad public interest in the provision of education. Vocational training provided by bodies like further education colleges, training schemes ultimately funded by the Government, examination services, and closely related supplies like school meals and field trips are all exempt from VAT under these rules, and we have no plans to make changes.

Baines Cutler, an independent analyst, conducted detailed research into what would happen if VAT applied to private school fees. Their calculations suggest that 90,800 pupils would leave the independent sector over the next five years and that this drop-off would be ‘virtually certain’.

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