Voice of the Mirror says Sir Keir Starmer’s plan to tax private schools shows that he has the country’s best interests at heart and is the right man to be next prime minister
Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Nothing is more important to parents than their children. And nothing is more important to children than their future. So Keir Starmer is right to pledge an education revolution to ensure a future fair to all.
It cannot be fair that children from poorer backgrounds lag 18 months behind their wealthier peers at GCSE level – simply because parents can afford to pay fees.
So it is only right the VAT and business rate exemptions private schools enjoy through charitable status be abolished. The £1.7billion that would bring in would be diverted to state schools in desperate need of the money.
This newspaper believes in free choice – and that includes the freedom for people to choose how they spend their money.
But the taxpayer should not have to subsidise that choice. Nor should some children miss out because their privileged peers have it all.
In the computer-reliant 21st Century, every child should have a laptop at home.
That is what this money will provide.
Careers advice is not just for privileged children. This extra money will pay for that valuable guidance in the state sector too.
But none of this can happen unless Sir Keir becomes Prime Minister, which is why Labour’s conference in Brighton this week is so crucial.
We accept that until now the Labour leader has been hamstrung by the pandemic.
For the first year of his leadership, he was unable to shake hands with a single voter.
And this week is his first opportunity to address the party faithful face to face.
But despite those handicaps, his critics continue to carp. They accuse him of failing to inspire, of having no policies and of a lack of vision and direction.
These are all points Sir Keir must address in his conference speech. And from what we have seen of it so far, it will be a barnstormer.
Labour is now awash with policies, from tackling climate change to dealing with the catastrophe of Universal Credit.
And as our exclusive interview with him today shows, Sir Keir has direction and his vision is 20/20. Now he must also prove that he can inspire people, so Labour activists leave Brighton with a spring in their step and Labour’s feet firmly set on the road to No10.
That is a more difficult task for a man who is not naturally flamboyant.
And Sir Keir is beset by the some of the same difficulties previous leaders wrestled with, among them Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair – namely those posed by the hard left.
But the socialist revolution promised by Jeremy Corbyn was rejected in two elections.
And had Labour persisted, it would simply have been rejected in a third.
The Tory Party in power today is without principles. Labour has principles aplenty – but principles without power to implement them are just so much well-meaning waffle.
Sir Keir has all the decency and determination to change the lives of British people for the better. This week he must show why he is the right man to do it.