Tax breaks for public schools ‘obscene’
The news (your report, 12 January) that three Scottish private schools have not met the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s standards should hardly come as a surprise as some private schools have been chancing their luck for years.
The belief that such schools – some with annual fees in excess of the average wage in Scotland – have any sense of public duty or are driven by improving educational opportunity for all surely defies any serious scrutiny.
The existence of these “centres of privilege”, such as Fettes College in Edinburgh, does not sit well with most fair-minded people in Scotland. However, to rub salt into the wound, for these schools to be given a huge tax break through securing charity status and to further advantage the already highly advantaged, is simply obscene.
At a time where there is increasing pressure on local, publicly-funded schools to improve results, spend more time, energy and resource in the early years, and build the confidence and wellbeing of parents and pupils in less affluent communities, this is not the time to support such tax breaks for the rich.
Could the tax the nation is foregoing from this sector not be better spent on supporting family centres in areas of real need or for providing confidence-building music instruction for the many?
The legislation surrounding the charitable status and tax advantages of private schools needs to be looked at again to redress this blatant inequality.
It really is time to remove this obscenity from the way we think about and deliver education as we look forward to our new Scotland.
(Cllr) Douglas Chapman
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