Scottish Budget 2017: Private schools hit with £5m rates hike

The Scotsman reports that private schools in Scotland have been hit with a £5 million budget bombshell after the Scottish Government unveiled plans to axe charity rates relief on the institutions.

It means some of the country’s best known schools like Heriot’s, Watson’s, Gordonstoun and Fettes College could face bills running into six figures.

Bosses at fee-paying schools have previously warned it would place Scottish education at a competitive disadvantage in the UK and globally.

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) said: “It is dispiriting to learn that the Government considers that independent schools and their parents alone are deserving of a targeted fivefold rates rise.”

About 50 schools across Scotland will be affected. In Edinburgh, it is estimated that private schools educate about 15-18% of children, with Stewart’s Melville and Merchiston Castle among their number.

The move won’t be implemented for several years as schools are given a period to prepare for the changes.

Across Scotland private schools educate more than 30,000 pupils, employing 3,500 teachers and the equivalent in support staff.

Read more Scottish Budget 2017: Private schools hit with £ 5m rates hike

Can you see this eventually happening in the rest of the UK? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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