Thursday, 8 July 2010

Telegraph: Private schools forced to offer more free places

The Telegraph reports:
Private schools have been forced to provide more free places for children from poor homes for the first time amid fears they could face state intervention.

In an unprecedented move, two independent schools have become the first in England and Wales to increase the amount of money set aside for bursaries under pressure from the official charities regulator.
This sort of meddling is inexcusable, but it would seem that the private schools have been snared by tax breaks, for which bureaucrats must assess the schools' "public benefit".
Under Labour's 2006 Charities Act, fee-paying schools are no longer automatically entitled to charitable status.

They must prove they provide "public benefit" to remain in business and retain tax breaks worth around £100m a year.

The commission has warned that it could intervene at schools struggling to meet the requirement to find "ways to fund free or subsidised access".
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with schools making a profit, but it seems bizarre that these schools were ever considered charities. The real problem is that charitable organisations are given special status under the tax code. They should be taxed at the same rate as other corporations; the rate should be zero for all.

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