HC Deb 16 June 1966 vol 729 cc1641-2
30. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give the number and percentage of independent schools recognised as efficient which are charities.

36. Mr. Onslow

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many indpendent schools which are recognised as efficient are not charities; and how many of these provide boarding facilities.

Mr. Redhead

Complete information is not available. 385 (or 25 per cent.) are registered as charities and 373 (or 24 per cent.), which are provided by religious orders, are thought to be charities. It is estimated that about 250 of the remaining 787 will be registered as charities. Boarding facilities are provided at 542 of these 787.

Mr. Hill

Is it not inequitable and anomalous that a substantial proportion of this most important sector, recognised as efficient in education, will therefore suffer the proposed discrimination in the Selective Employment Tax? Does not the Minister agree that it is very important that, if there is to be a selective tax, remission should extend to all teaching and learning?

Mr. Redhead

I should like to make it clear that there is no question of discrimination against those independent schools which are not charities. All services, public and private, will bear the tax. The Government are offsetting the elect on local authorities in order to protect the ratepayers and on charities because of the hardship which might otherwise be caused to some institutions.

Mr. Onslow

Can the Minister say what representations, if any, he has made to the Chancellor about the effect of this new tax on the cost of boarding places? Does he propose that the element of this which is matched from public funds in the case of local authorities and the Overseas Diplomatic Service shall be increased?

Mr. Redhead

These matters have all been covered in the representations received and in the decisions of the Government.

Sir E. Boyle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, whatever the intentions of the tax, the figures which he has disclosed this afternoon will strike people as representing a completely indefensible anomaly educationally, and that we shall certainly press this matter very hard?