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I note that the Public Petitions Committee at Holyrood is to ­investigate the tax breaks ­enjoyed by independent schools following a petition submitted by Ashley Powton from Orkney.

The petitioner states that these schools enjoy tax breaks, are driven by profit and should lose all the perks that charitable status gives them. She considers it is almost misleading to refer to them as schools.

She considers that taxpayers are subsidising the rich and the privileged to educate their ­children.

There are, of course, criteria already in place with regard to schools enjoying charitable ­status, and if indeed they are driven by profit then they would not meet these criteria.

Is she suggesting they are owned by shareholders who ­receive a dividend? In the case of Edinburgh, has anyone worked out what the bill to the taxpayer would be in the event of the ­independent schools all being run by the city?

A number of these schools ­attract pupils from overseas. It is most unlikely that this would continue in the event of the ­petitioner achieving her ultimate ambition ie the abolition of independent schools.

The independent schools have all recently been through the examination of their charitable status. I would suggest the Public Petitions Committee should have better things to do with its time.

John Kelly

High Street

Dalkeith

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