Waive tax exemption for wealthy independents

16th May 1997 at 01:00
Peter Smith's idea for a Private Finance Initiative that involved "independent" schools raising funds for state education (TES, May 2) would probably lead to their demanding some sort of quid pro quo, such as a method for creaming off the best teachers and highest-achieving pupils in the state sector.

Such independent schools - actually remarkably dependent on the taxpayer because of their charitable status - could thus have a bad effect on state schools, doing particular damage to the comprehensive goal of integrating children of differing aptitudes.

The new Government should instead remove these schools' charitable status (as well as scrapping the Assisted Places Scheme) and switch the new funds to primary and secondary schools (which are, as The TES reported last week, currently under severe financial strain).

Charitable status is a tax exemption by which the vast majority of taxpayers subsidise the education of the richest. Instead of going to the wealthiest in this society, these funds could be used to improve the education system as a whole.

SHOUVIK DATTA, 67 Friar Road, Orpington

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