Labour non-public college plans might price military sergeants hundreds in further charges | UK | News | EUROtoday

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LABOUR’S pledge to tax non-public colleges might price mid-ranking troopers an additional £3,000 a yr and jeopardise troop retention simply because the prospect of battle will increase, it was warned final evening.

Parents serving within the armed forces who’re deployed from put up to put up can declare the Continuity of Education Allowance , which subsidizes 90 per cent of boarding college charges to a cap of £8,600 per time period.

With a toddler of military dad and mom having sometimes attended six colleges by the age of 11, the CEA affords academic stability and pastoral care in a single location for his or her senior college years.

As such, it’s considered as an vital software to make sure troopers with years of expertise behind them stay within the armed forces when youngsters come alongside.

Some 4,210 youngsters supported by the MOD and 514 youngsters supported by the FCDO are supplied funding by the federal government underneath CEA every year.

Though obtainable to all ranks and companies, it’s Sergeants – the spine of the British military who earn round £40,000 a yr – who use CAE probably the most.

Labour’s coverage to take away VAT exemption from non-public colleges means all dad and mom who ship their youngsters to 1 will see charges successfully hiked by 20 per cent.

This signifies that a Sergeant Major on a wage of £41,000 with two youngsters at a mid-level boarding college costing £13,000 a time period, might have to seek out an additional £2,000 each time period – or £6,000 over the course of the tutorial yr.

Mark Taylor, a former main within the Royal Dragoon Guards, can hint his household’s army heritage again six generations, with ancestors having fought in each the Battle of Waterloo and the Charge of the Light Brigade.

“My father was posted in Germany with a tank regiment and he certainly could not have afforded for me to go to boarding school in England without the CEA,“ said Mark, who is now bursar of King’s School Canterbury.

“We have some of the best boarding schools in the world which provide the most wonderful pastoral care, and CEA is seen as one of the great benefits of a military career where salaries are not generally high. They need to make service life attractive. It is an important factor which goes through the minds of many soldiers and officers.”

Labour’s plans threaten military numbers at a time when Britain’s small military of 73,000 can not afford any gaps, he mentioned, including:“The trajectory is evident. To have the ability to guarantee there’s stability and assist for army youngsters at a time when issues are getting fairly difficult globally is important.”

Situated on the edge of Salisbury Plain, Dauntsey’s School has more than fifty military families on its books.

“In the 12 years that I have been here, and despite the downsizing of the army and drawdown from Afghanistan and Iraq, the number of military families we have had has not really changed,“ said head Mark Lascelles

“Most of the military children that reach us at the age of 11 have already been in six or seven schools in their short lives. What they really need is stability.”

According to studies, as many as 20 percent of all private school children may be forced to leave, adding 130,000 pupils to the already overstretched state school system.

“We have some superb state colleges round Salisbury, and I can let you know that they’re full, so the place will these youngsters go?” said Mr Lascelles.

Last week shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry admitted the prospect of thousands ofparents being driven from independent schools because of the tax hike would result in even larger classes.

Mr Lascelles added: “Labour claims to be the party of the Armed Forces. If they did have the Armed Forces’ backs, they would look after Armed Forces families.”

“Labour claims to be the occasion of the Armed Forces. If they did have the Armed Forces’ backs, they’d take care of Armed Forces households.” Mark Lascelles, head of Dauntsey’s School, near Devizes , Wiltshire

This means either exempting military families from VAT or increasing the CEA allowance by raiding cash-strapped Ministry of Defence’s coffers to make up the difference.

Last night Julie Robinson, General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), said: “Moving from school to school leaves its mark on children, and sometimes the posting is somewhere where it is not safe to bring your family. Parents who serve the Crown need access to boarding schools and to know the fees will be covered.

“What we want is an exemption from VAT for children for military and diplomatic families who are supported by the CEA.”

Independent schools pump £5bn into the economy, and save the taxpayer a further £4.5bn a year by educating children to no cost to the state. With many private school being forced to close, critics say the idea will end up costing the state money.

Labour leader Keir Starmer says he will use the tax revenue to find 6,500 new maths teachers across the state school system.

But a shortage of maths teachers in the pipeline has put a question mark over where the teachers will actually come from.

Last night Labour sources confirmed there were no plans to exempt military families from the tax hike, suggesting that it may be up to the MoD and FCDO to absorb the rise from existing budgets.

Julie Robinson added: “It is parents who will have to carry this burden. There is already a stereotyped assumption about the types of people who send their children to private schools, and it now risks being applied to military families also.”