Private schools in Portsmouth get £600,000 business rates relief due to charitable status

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is calling on private schools to help state schools with resources
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is calling on private schools to help state schools with resources
From left, Cowplain School Year 11 prefects Cerys Gamlin, Eleanor Weeks, Ellie Otton and Helena Tuch organised a Bush Tucker trial to raise money for charity

Cowplain pupils do Bush Tucker trial for teenager Beth

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FIGURES have revealed private schools in Portsmouth will get more than £600,000 in business rates relief.

A Freedom of Information request by CVS Business Rent and Rates Specialist found the seven private schools in the city are registered as charities.
Due to this status, they can get up to 80 per cent off their annual business tax rates.

If private schools are to continue to get a tax break, it’s right and proper they help state schools by lending teaching staff, and offering support and resources.

Stephen Morgan

The figures show, for 2017/18, the schools will be granted £603,537 in rates relief.

It means, the seven private schools in Portsmouth will pay a collective £150,884 this financial year in business rates after charitable relief, equating to an average yearly tax bill per private school of £21,555.

Portsmouth South Labour MP Stephen Morgan called for private schools to help state schools if they are getting the rates relief.

He said: ‘Teachers across our great city are telling me the huge pressure they’re under as a result of Tory cuts to state schools. Many are struggling to make ends meet, and that isn’t good enough.

‘If private schools are to continue to get a tax break, it’s right and proper they help state schools by lending teaching staff, and offering support and resources.

‘If we are to make the most of the wealth of talent that exists in every school and every community, we need to give every child a chance to succeed.

‘And if we are to be a place which works for most people, we need to break down the divisions in our school system with concerted, collaborative and co-ordinated action so that everyone benefits.’

Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS Business Rent and Rates Specialists, said: ‘It cannot be right that state schools pay normal business rates but 100 per cent of private schools in Portsmouth, using charitable status, receive 80 per cent discount.

‘As the overall tax burden continues to rise businesses, particularly SMEs, must have the confidence that fairness is at the heart of the tax system.’

The Independent Schools Council has recently revealed although private school fees do vary depending on where you live, fees continue to outpace wider inflation with the average school now costing £14,102 per year - up from £13,623 last year.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The council has no control over situations like this as we have to follow government rules on business rate relief.’

Nationally, CVS got replies from 132 Councils revealing 586 out 1,038 private schools held charitable status.