Private school shares election concerns with parents
Ted Peskett Local Democracy Reporter
A charity behind a Welsh private school has shared its concerns that tuition fees could go up if Labour wins the next general election.
Chief executive of Girl’s Day School Trust (GDST), the charity behind Howell’s School in Llandaff, Cheryl Giovannoni, wrote to parents to express her concerns in an end of year email in December.
Labour announced last year that it plans to scrap tax reliefs for private schools if it wins the next general election, which is expected to take place sometime this year.
Ms Giovannoni told parents in December that the full details of the proposed policy aren’t known yet, but added that it could have a “significant impact”.
She said that if a planned 20% VAT rate on school fees is introduced, “the majority of independent schools, including ours, would find it impossible to absorb the full impact of this considerable cost”.
GDST, which is made up of 25 schools, also benefits from business rates relief.
Labour is also proposing changes which could result in a loss of business rates relief for private schools.
Ms Giovannoni said: “It is inevitable that as a result of these policies, there will be an increase in the overall cost of education.”
When the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) contacted GDST about the email, it said that many families had approached the charity with concerns about the impact that Labour’s election pledges could have on private schools.
In their response, GDST added: “We updated our families to provide some reassurance on our commitment to their child’s education and on the policy facts as we know them now.
“GDST, as an organisation, remains politically neutral and we take care to observe Charity Commission’s guidance on political activity and campaigning by charities.
“We will continue to keep families informed of any major developments relating to our charity’s purpose over the coming months.”
The latest date that a general election in the UK can next take place is 28 January 2025.
However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed at the end of 2023 that a general election will be held at some point in 2024.
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