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Jeremy Corbyn begins campaign with vow to make private schools pay tax

The Labour leader said the manifesto had not yet been written but said private schools’ charitable status would be addressed.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Jacob King/PA)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Jacob King/PA)

By Matthew Cooper, PA

Jeremy Corbyn was warmly applauded during a speech to party members in Shropshire after pledging to end charitable status for private schools if his party wins power.

During a question-and-answer session with journalists after his speech, Mr Corbyn was asked if Labour’s conference policy to deny private schools charitable status would make it into the party’s manifesto.

Mr Corbyn replied: “The manifesto will be launched a little later on – it isn’t all finished and in writing yet.

“The conference policy has been passed and some of that conference policy will go into the manifesto.

“I can say that at the very least there will be… we will be expecting those in private education, those private educational establishments to pay tax rather than get charitable status.”

(PA Graphics)

Interrupting widespread applause which followed his comments, the Labour leader added: “I want to see fully-funded and properly-funded primary and secondary schools within our society through our national education service.

“I don’t think headteachers or any other teachers should be put through the stress of having to raise money just to maintain the school.”

File picture of pupils at Eton College (David Parker/PA)

During a wide-ranging speech at a university campus in Telford, Mr Corbyn said his party was well organised, well prepared and “utterly determined” to win the General Election.

The Labour leader said Westminster had not “exactly covered itself in glory recently”, and “real politics” was not about “shouting matches in Parliament”.

“For me, real politics, the politics that I stand for, is about sharing power and wealth with people who don’t have a lot of money, don’t have friends in high places.”

Supporters listen to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Jacob King/PA)

After being asked by an Army veteran what Labour’s policies were to help homeless ex-service personnel, Mr Corbyn said there was currently too much reliance on charities to help those suffering post-traumatic stress.

Mr Corbyn added: “Firstly, we will stop the privatisation of armed forces’ housing, which is going on at the present time, where they are being pushed into the private rental sector with all the costs that go with it.

“We will give far more support for the education of service people’s families and the children, which is often a source of enormous stress to them.”

Later, Mr Corbyn claimed a government led by him would be able to renegotiate a Brexit deal within three months.

Speaking to Sky News in Telford, Mr Corbyn said: “I am very clear that an incoming government will get the time necessary to negotiate, will get that extension, indeed … I’ve discussed it with Keir Starmer, with many officials in the EU and with heads of government elsewhere.”

Asked if he has discussed the matter with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Mr Corbyn said “yes”, adding: “An incoming government after a general election must be given the time in order to negotiate it.

“We’ve set ourselves a target of three months to negotiate the economic relationship with Europe and six months to have a referendum.”



From Belfast Telegraph