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Assistance call

The Adam Smith Institute, a right-wing think-tank, this week called for massive expansion of the Pounds 105 million Assisted Places scheme which subsidises the private-school fees of 30,000 children from low-income families.

It urged the Government to double the number of assisted places to 60, 000 and then make a long-term commitment to expand the scheme. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged to abolish it.

Professor Antony Flew, emeritus professor of philosophy at Reading University, in an Adam Smith paper entitled All the Right Places, said expanding the scheme would extend opportunity and variety. He added that "it would also highlight the gap between its own approach and that of an opposition still locked into an ideological aversion to variety, free choice and the pursuit of excellence".

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