PE01531: Remove Charitable Status from Private Schools


Petitioner: Ashley Husband Powton


Date Lodged: 01 October 2014

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to remove charitable status, and thus taxpayer support, from private, fee-paying schools. 

Petition History:


28 October 2014: The Committee took evidence, via videoconference, from Ashley Husband Powton. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, COSLA, the Scottish Council of Independent Schools and the Educational Institute of Scotland. The Committee also agreed to invite the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator to give evidence at a future meeting. Link to Official Report 28 October 2014

13 January 2015: The Committee took evidence from Martin Tyson, Head of Registration, and Judith Turbyne, Head of Engagement, Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, to seek information from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre on the amount of business rates collected from local authority schools in Scotland and also from the petitioner on the evidence heard. Link to Official Report 13 January 2015

17 March 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Link to Official Report 17 March 2015

26 May 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 26 May 2015

22 September 2015: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that that the Committee has taken the petition as far as it can and that the Scottish Government has made it clear that it has no plans to substantially review the 2005 Act. Link to Official Report 22 September 2015   

Written Submissions:

In 2011, Fettes College, a selective private school, saw its tax liability fall from £209,139 to £41,828. a taxpayer funded subsidy of £167, 311.

Wester Hailes state school, where over 40% of pupils are are eligible for free school-meals, paid its tax liability of £261,873 in full. 

Charitable status allows Scotland’s elitist and privileged private schools, which serve only 4% of pupils, 80% mandatory discount on non-domestic rates, whilst financially-strapped state schools, which serve 96% of pupils, pay the full sum.

How can this be right or fair?

In reply to Dale Bilson. You might have read the background information added to this petition. You would therefore know that the state appears to be subsidising the independent school. Their right to be deemed 'charitable' actually appears to be a rather good tax avoidance scheme. Sorry but far from saving State money, desperately needed for State schools, a few independent schools appear to benefit from the many Scottish taxpayers.

Peter Findlay

15:02 on 01 Oct 2014

The initial step to humanitarian social division. Educating your children at a school on a basis of personal wealth is obscene in itself. If parents can afford the fees to these charity schools then the bill should include their tax burden also. Remove these elitist institutions charitable status immediately.

Peter Findlay

14:19 on 01 Oct 2014

We need to do what is right.

John Wardhaugh

8:33 on 26 Sep 2014

Private school foster elitism. They have no part in a fair Scotland

Fiona Matheson

17:58 on 25 Sep 2014

I would like to see an end to charitable status for private education in Scotland. Private education, above all else is divisive in a community, creating a feeling of entitlement and difference in those who experience it. How was charitable status ever justified. Let us see the beginnings of social equality and fairness in Scotland. Let us see the merging of different cultures, not the seperations within society.

Carole Harvey

11:18 on 25 Sep 2014

Help those who really "need" help!

Rikki Allan

17:24 on 19 Sep 2014

In a free society you can't stop these places being set up, but you can recognise them as a force of inequality and stop subsidising them.

Craig watt

23:30 on 09 Sep 2014

I wa aware they got tax breaks but was not aware the state did not, this needs to be highlighted far and wide.

Paul walker

15:57 on 08 Sep 2014

We need a fairer society

Alison Lamond

13:19 on 08 Sep 2014

The rich o not need public subsidy.

David Rushent

21:33 on 07 Sep 2014

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