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24 September 2019

Labour’s plans to abolish private schools would be difficult to implement

One outcome of The Labour Party conference in Brighton was that their next manifesto will include a section stating that endowments, investments and properties held by private schools will be redistributed democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions, whilst also abolishing their charitable status. However, it has been made clear by lawyers that this will not be as easily implemented as first claimed.

Penny Chapman, partner in BDB Pitmans’ charities team comments:

‘Even if you said that independent schools are no longer charitable, that doesn’t mean all of their assets, which have been given as charity assets over decades and centuries, automatically cease to be charitable. Although public schools don’t have many friends, they could whip up considerable support on the principle that the government could confiscate land that has been given to charities over centuries for the public benefit.’

Senior associate Alice Unwin, also in the firm’s charities team, adds that the legislation would have to clearly define what an independent school is so that the Government was not

‘Accidentally scooping up other education providers in the charity sector’.

The full article is available on Third Sector, here.

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