Eton College gets 80% tax break while state schools are ‘at breaking point’

Eton gets an 80 per cent tax break because of its charity status (Picture: Rex/Getty)

Eton College enjoys an 80 per cent tax cut because it is a charity while state schools shoulder ‘the worst cuts in a generation.’ The prestigious all-boys school, which charges parents £40,000 a year, is expected to save £1.4 million over the next few years thanks to the perk.

Critics are calling for school ‘tax loopholes’ to be closed, at a time when skint state schools are asking parents to buy pens, pencils and toilet paper.

According to rates experts Altus Group, Eton College’s bill will be slashed from £831,600 to £166,320 this year and from £851,400 to £170,280 next year.

The saving of nearly £1.4m will add to the £1.8 million saved over the last three years, reports the Mirror.

Eton schoolboys in traditional tailcoats (Picture: Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Boys and their mums walk through Eaton’s courtyard (Picture: Getty Images/The Life Picture Collection)

 

The school is known for educating much of Britain’s social elite, with famous Old Etonians including Prince William and Prince Harry, Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Other well known alumni include Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis, George Orwell and Bear Grylls.

The school and sixth form for boys aged 13 to 18 received £8.5 million in donations on top of £51 million in school fees, according to the Charity Commission.

It also has £437 million of ‘funds carried forward’ and raked in £12.3 million in investment income last year. Royal baby name odds suggest Meghan and Harry will name the baby after Princess Diana

Altus says just over half of private schools have charitable status and will save £223 million over the next two years thanks to the tax break.

A young Prince Harry during his Eton College days (Picture: Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Eton pupils drawing St George’s Chapel in Windsor (Picture: Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)

 

 

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: ‘These figures are the latest sign that the Tories are running our education system for the few, not the many.

‘Even as state schools suffer the worst cuts in a generation, an elite few still benefit from tax giveaways with the government’s blessing

The Labour MP said her party vows to end the VAT exemption for private schools to help fund free school meals ‘for every primary school child.’

Unions have described state schools as being at ‘breaking point’, with the number of secondary schools running at a loss shooting from 8.1 per cent in 2014 to 30.3 per cent last year.

On average debt saddled by local authority run secondary schools is £483,569, according to the Education Policy Institute.

Prince William is one of many famous Eton College alumni (Picture: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

 

Even a primary school in Theresa May’s wealthy constituency of Maidenhead begged parents for basic supplies like like toilet roll and Blu-Tack. Eton College has defended itself as a charity and said it was committed to ‘aiding social mobility’.

The school added: ‘We spend over £7 million per annum on financial aid and currently 83 of our pupils pay no fees at all. ‘Our pupils are extensively involved in community engagement and social action.’

Labour ‘must commit to People’s Vote’ before EU elections The Department for Education pointed out that state funded schools get additional government funding to cover their business rates in full, with just over £400 million provided in England last year.

Boys make their way to classes across the historic cobbled school yard (Picture: Getty Images)

 

Academies, voluntary aided and foundation schools can also benefit from the 80 per cent relief and special schools are exempt from rates. Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus called for a ‘level playing field’ for school rates.

He added: ‘It cannot be right that council-run schools pay normal business rates, but both private schools and academies, using charitable status, receive an 80 per cent discount.’

With many thanks to the: Metro.co.uk for the original story

Theresa May invites David Cameron to backseat drive on Brexit

Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron is advising her how to get some kind route out of the EU through Parliament. Credit: PA

If you want a symbol of the catastrophe Theresa May faces over Brexit here it is: her predecessor David Cameron is advising her how to get some kind route out of the EU – that isn’t the fast one over the cliff – through parliament.

This is like the pope asking the chief rabbi on the true meaning of the Eucharist: when Theresa May became prime minister she defined herself by defenestrating all things and people of a Cameroonish hue (including, most notoriously – and some would argue most self-destructively – packing Osborne off to the backbenches).

But now the former prime minister has become her personal Brexit-crisis adviser, as she desperately tries to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU with a chaotic no deal.

Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron is advising her how to get some kind route out of the EU. Credit: PA

Second referendum would cause ‘irreparable damage’, PM to warn

Mr Cameron’s advice is conspicuously being taken, at this juncture by her ministers if not publicly by her.

Because what he told her – I understand – is that she should “get on with getting parliament to work through the options”.

You will have heard the Business Secretary Greg Clark just this morning become the latest member of the Cabinet to say on the Today Programme that the time is almost nigh to press MPs (possibly through an innovative process of holding advisory votes on different options) to express their collective views on what kind of Brexit (or potentially no Brexit, via a referendum) they would choose.

What lies ahead for the PM and Brexit this week?
When Theresa May became prime minister she defined herself by defenestrating all things and people of a Cameroonish hue.

When Theresa May became prime minister she defined herself by defenestrating all things and people of a Cameroonish hue. Credit: PA

Mr Cameron has made it clear – according to my source – that “she has to help parliament find an answer, recognising that she doesn’t have a majority”.

This of course is reinforcing the pressure on her from her senior backbenchers like Nicky Morgan to put party allegiances to one side in the search for a way through the impasse.

And what kind of Brexit would Mr Cameron himself favour?

Well she is listening to him partly because he has privately endorsed her “partnership” approach to the UK’s long-term relationship with the EU.

This would be either her Brexit plan, which a majority of MPs detest, or an amended version (which the EU comprehensively squished on Thursday) or some version of the arrangement Norway has with the EU.

So Mr Cameron is – as you would expect – a proponent of what Michael Gove would see as the best Brexit available and Jacob Rees-Mogg would view as BRINO (Brexit in name only) serfdom.

And if MPs won’t back any Brexit plan? Would Mr Cameron suggest she put the BIG question back to the people with a so-called People’s Vote?

My source conspicuously dodges when pressed.

That said, Mr Cameron probably knows better than to opine on plebiscitary matters, since if he hadn’t decided on the original poll, she wouldn’t be in her quandary today and he’d still be in a job.

With many thanks to: ITV News and Robert Preston/Preston Politics for the original story.

Finucanes to take case to British Supreme Court

Pat Finucane (1949 – 1989)

The widow of solicitor Pat Finucane is to take her legal fight for a public inquiry into his murder to the UK’s supreme court.

Senior judges in Belfast today refused Geraldine Finucane leave to appeal their decision that the British government was entitled to deny her such a tribunal.

But it now clears the way for the family to petition directly for a hearing in London.

Mrs Finucane’s legal representatives later confirmed their intention to continue their challenge to judicial findings that former prime minister David Cameron had acted lawfully.

They are expected to argue that the case raises legal points of general public importance.

Mr Finucane, 39, was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.

His family has campaigned for a full examination of alleged security force collusion with the killers.

In 2011 Mr Cameron decided against ordering a public inquiry, and instead commissioned QC Sir Desmond de Silva to review all documents relating to the case and produce a narrative of what happened.

Sir Desmond’s report confirmed agents of the state were involved in the murder and that it should have been prevented.

He also linked the military’s Force Research Unit because one of its agents was involved in selecting targets.

However, the report concluded there had been no overarching state conspiracy.

The Finucane family rejected the findings as a whitewash and accused the government of unlawfully reneging on previous commitments.

Pledges to set up such a tribunal, based on the recommendation of retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, were made by a former Labour government in 2004 and reaffirmed in the following years, it was contended.

In 2015 a judge backed the government’s case that shifting public interest issues were enough to override Mrs Finucane’s expectation.

Appealing that verdict, her lawyers argued that a full public inquiry was necessary to examine an alleged abuse of power for which no-one in authority has been brought to account.

They argued that the murdered solicitor was the victim of an army-run death squad normally associated with Latin American dictatorships.

Counsel for Mrs Finucane claimed her husband’s killing was due to covert, state-sponsored terrorism and represents a “horror story” for the British Government.

Only Ken Barrett, the loyalist gunman and “UDA puppet” convicted of the killing, has been held responsible, it was contended.

But last month the Court of Appeal rejected the Finucane family’s case, including allegations that the government staged an elaborate sham process before announcing its predetermined decision.

Judges agreed that the murdered solicitor’s widow had received a clear and unambiguous promise that any recommended inquiry would be held.

However, they concluded that other issues, including political developments in Northern Ireland and the potential cost of a lengthy process, were enough to frustrate her legitimate expectation.

Mrs Finucane’s legal team returned to the court today to apply for leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

They again raised points about her legitimate expectation and rights under European law.

Despite those submissions, Lord Justice Gillen ruled there was no conflicting legal issues that warranted giving permission.

He said: “We are therefore going to follow the practice of this court and leave the matter to the UK Supreme Court to decide if they are going to grant leave on this matter.”

Later, Mrs Finucane’s solicitor, Peter Madden, confirmed plans to lodge an application in London next week.

With many thanks to: Madden and Finucane Solicitors.

I wrote a letter yesterday to Prime Minister David Cameron about Saudi protester – Jeremy Corbyn

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Call for two-child limit on benifits

FAMILIES would only be able to claim bbenefits for two children under plans put forward by a member of David Cameron‘s policy board aimed at cutting billions of pounds off the Welfare Bill.

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi wants to limit child benefit and child tax credits to families ‘first two children’ only!!!

The radical proposals set out by Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi would limit child bbenefit and tax credits to families’ first two children. Writing in the Mail on Sundayhe said capping benefits by family size would “save billions and help the next generation think more carefully about their relationship with the welfare state“. A family with three cchildren, with parents earning below £50,000 and so able to claim child benefit in full, would lose out on £696.00 by only being able to claim for two children. The Mail on Sunday Said those earning less than £30,000 will also be denied child tax credits worth £2,725 a year under the plan.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Haass proposals doomed to failure

The reason the British handed over responsibilty to Haass for the contentious matters is that there is no answer to the questions which unionists will accept

THREE weeks to go to Richard Haass‘s self-imposed deadline of Christmas. Unless, of course, it’s a misunderstanding and he’s talking about a different Christmas. Do you give him any chance of coming up with agreed proposals on flags, parades and the past? No? Nor does anyone else.

Fly the Irish Tricolour from Belfast City Hall

There are several worrying consequences about the current process some of which have already been looked at here. First, even if Haass were miraculously to pull even one rabbit out of his hat, legislation would be required. To further complicate it, the matter’s he’s concerned with all involve UK legislation at least. In the case of deaths and injuries during the Troubles the Irish government would have to be involved too. With the unionist parties already jostling each other about European election candidates, will they support the necessary legislation during the election campaign? No. As the British coalition government sees the election scheduled for May 7 2015 rushing ever closer the DUP will become more important. The treacherous lily-livered Lib-Dems will finally start to break away and oppose some Conservative legislation, particularly on economic and EU matters. Together with the Labour party they might defeat the Conservatives on some issues.

This is where the eight DUP MPs come in. Last week they were able to help the Conservatives defeat a backwoods Tory rebellion on plans to recruit reservists to replace full-time soldiers in return for raising the cap on numbers of recruits from the north. Watch the DUP come to David Cameron‘s rescue in 2014-5 if he dangles a bauble in frount of them. Even if Haass came up with something the parties at Stormont agree on, don’t expect it to go through Westminster unscathed. However, don’t hold your breath. The reason the British handed over responsibility to Haass for the contentious matters is that there is no answer to the questions which unionists will accept. It’s perfectly obvious that on the flags issue unionist leaders are too weak, cowardly and hypocritical to support a rational solution to flags on public buildings. They took r Fleg!!! Their hypocrisy stares them in the face every day at Stormont. As for anything vertical in unionist districts, there is no solution. It would be a cat and mouse operation with the police running around after loyalist squads replacing flags the police removed. Unionists do not accept the concept of a neutral space. They want to own Norn Irn. After all, didn’t the British give it them? Now they’re asking them to share it with Fenians on an equal footing. Hah.

There are wider consequences. Past experience has shown that only Westminister-legislated change will bring unionists to heel whether it was the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement or the 1998 Public Processions Act. This time there’ll be no Westminster legislation because Cameron might need the DUP in the short term. It’s not the first time a British government has bolstered unionist intransigence and it won’t be the last. It dosn’t matter what colour the government is; it depends on the proconsul for the time being. Peter Hain had little to recommend him but at least his threats of joint rule with Dublin or carving Norn Irn into three sub-regions concentrated unionst minds. This present government’s detachment and the rudderless performance of the present proconsul is sending republicans a dangerous message that unionists have a veto on all change, that Stormont as presently constituted does not function as a vehicle for change. The establishment of Haass as arbiter is not only evidence of British (and Irish) disengagement but is proof that by default they encourage unionist intransigence.The plain fact is that if unionists don’t like what Haass proposes they will be allowed to reject it and Sinn Fein can do nothing about it. Haass is there only because of the failure of the two governments to confront unionist resistance to change and their continual refusal to live on equal terms with the rest of the people on this island by recognising the legitimacy of the symbols and Irish identity of those in the north. The appointment of Haass is further evidence of Sinn Fein’s inadequacy as negotiators and their failure to see the big picture. The DUP is running rings aroud them.

With many thanks to: Brian Feeney, The Irish News.

Revealed: Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after war began.

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BRITAIN allowed firms to sell chemicals to Syria capable of being used to make nerve gas, we can reveal today.

Export licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride were granted months after the bloody civil war in the Middle East began.

The chemical is capable of being used to make weapons such as sarin, thought to be the nerve gas used in the attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb which killed nearly 1500 people, including 426 children, 10 days ago.

President Bashar Assad’s forces have been blamed for the attack, leading to calls for an armed response from the West.

British MPs voted against joining America in a strike. But last night, President Barack Obama said he will seek the approval of Congress to take military action.

The chemical export licences were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for

Business, Innovation and Skills last January – 10 months after the Syrian uprising began.

They were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on Assad’s regime.

Yesterday, politicians and anti-arms trade campaigners urged Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why the licences were granted.

Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty, who sits on the House of Commons’ Committees on Arms Export Controls, plans to lodge Parliamentary questions tomorrow and write to Cable.

He said: “At best it has been negligent and at worst reckless to export material that could have been used to create chemical weapons.

“MPs will be horrified and furious that the UK Government has been allowing the sale of these

ingredients to Syria.

“What the hell were they doing granting a licence in the first place?

“I would like to know what investigations have been carried out to establish if any of this

material exported to Syria was subsequently used in the attacks on its own people.”

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, said: “I will be raising this in Parliament as soon as possible to find out what examination the UK Government made of where these chemicals were going and what they were to be used for.

“Approving the sale of chemicals which can be converted into lethal weapons during a civil war is a very serious issue.

“We need to know who these chemicals were sold to, why they were sold, and whether the UK Government were aware that the chemicals could potentially be used for chemical weapons.

“The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria makes a full explanation around these shady deals even more important.”

Mark Bitel of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (Scotland) said: “The UK Government claims to have an ethical policy on arms exports, but when it comes down to practice the reality is very different.

“The Government is hypocritical to talk about chemical weapons if it’s granting licences to companies to export to regimes such as Syria.

“We saw David Cameron, in the wake of the Arab Spring, rushing off to the Middle East with arms companies to promote business.”

Some details emerged in July of the UK’s sale of the chemicals to Syria but the crucial dates of the exports were withheld.

The Government have refused to identify the licence holders or say whether the licences were issued to one or two companies.

The chemicals are in powder form and highly toxic. The licences specified that they should be used for making aluminium structures such as window frames.

Professor Alastair Hay, an expert in environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said: “They have a variety of industrial uses.

“But when you’re making a nerve agent, you attach a fluoride element and that’s what gives it

its toxic properties.

“Fluoride is key to making these munitions.

“Whether these elements were used by Syria to make nerve agents is something only subsequent investigation will reveal.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “The UK Government operates one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world.

“An export licence would not be granted where we assess there is a clear risk the goods might be used for internal repression, provoke or prolong conflict within a country, be used aggressively against another country or risk our national security.

“When circumstances change or new information comes to light, we can – and do – revoke licences where the proposed export is no longer consistent with the criteria.”

Assad’s regime have denied blame for the nerve gas attack, saying the accusations are “full of lies”. They have pointed the finger at rebels.

UN weapons inspectors investigating the atrocity left Damascus just before dawn yesterday and crossed into Lebanon after gathering evidence for four days.

They are now travelling to the Dutch HQ of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

It could take up to two weeks for the results of tests on samples taken from victims of the attack, as well as from water, soil and shrapnel, to be revealed.

On Thursday night, Cameron referred to a Joint Intelligence Committee report on Assad’s use of chemical weapons as he tried in vain to persuade MPs to back military action. The report said the regime had used chemical weapons at least 14 times since last year.

Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday attacked America’s stance and urged Obama to show evidence to the UN that Assad’s regime was guilty.

Russia and Iran are Syria’s staunchest allies. The Russians have given arms and military backing to Assad during the civil war which has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

Putin said it would be “utter nonsense” for Syria to provoke opponents and spark military

retaliation from the West by using chemical weapons.

But the White House, backed by the French government, remain convinced of Assad’s guilt, and Obama proposes “limited, narrow” military action to punish the regime.

He has the power to order a strike, but last night said he would seek approval from Congress.

Obama called the chemical attack “an assault on human dignity” and said: “We are prepared to strike whenever we choose.”

He added: “Our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive. It will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.

“And I’m prepared to give that order.”

Some fear an attack on Syria will spark retaliation against US allies in the region, such

as Jordan, Turkey and Israel.

General Lord Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, described the Commons vote as a “victory for common sense and democracy”.

He added that the “drumbeat for war” had dwindled among the British public in recent days.

With many thanks to : Russell Findlay, Daily Record.

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