Private schools: Tory council forced into U-turn on fees subsidy plan

21st August 2009 at 01:00
A Tory council in south London has been forced to drop plans to subsidise private school fees for pupils whose parents have been made redundant by the recession

Original paper headline: Tory council forced into U-turn on fees subsidy plan

Bromley Council had proposed to use taxpayers' money to support parents who could no longer pay for their children's private school education after losing their jobs.

However, it is believed council leader Stephen Carr was forced into a U- turn after receiving a phone call from Conservative leader David Cameron.

The move would have turned a lot of Tory faces red, particularly as the Conservatives have just introduced a raft of radical ideas to shake up state education.

According to local newspaper reports, Bromley executive councillor for children and young people Ernest Noad agreed to look into the idea because "a lot of children in Bromley are in private education".

"There is a worry that with the recession there might well be a significant number of people with children at private schools who can no longer afford to pay the fees," Mr Noad said.

However, in a statement Stephen Carr said his council had no intention of bringing in the controversial proposals.

He said: "I would like to make it perfectly clear that Bromley Council has no plans to introduce such a scheme, but quite rightly, as a result of a question put at a full council meeting at the end of June, officers felt duty bound to consider this, as is good practice. As I have already stated, there is no suggestion that this will be pursued."

It marks an unhappy month for the council, which two weeks ago lost a high court battle to build a new boys' school after it was blocked by a neighbouring girls' school.

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