Posted: Sat 10th Dec 2022

A view from Alyn and Deeside’s Member of the Senedd

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 10th, 2022

Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant writes a regular column on Deeside.com.

Jack writes: I am not a particularly avid viewer of the BBC’s question time.  My engineering background prefers platforms for debate that encourage solutions and problem solving and the Question Time format doesn’t lend itself to that.  I did however tune in for last week’s episode from Wales.  

I am not easily shocked but comments from the Secretary of State for Wales really made me draw breath.   You can often tell a lot about people when you discover where their personal red-lines lie.  What issues particularly upset them. 

With the Sec of State, the issue that really angered him was fairly mild proposals to treat private schools normally for tax purposes, rather than allowing them tax relief and to spend the money raised on the schools nearly everyone’s children attend.  

Private schools convey great privilege on those that attend and a cursory look at the tops of most professions shows that privilege stays with these children for life.  They are not charities, and the tax system should not treat them as such.  Private schools benefit the children of the wealthy and nobody should be suggesting that is charitable work. 

The Secretary of State for Wales however is furious.  This is a man who was happy to scrap Sure Start, a programme that supported children from the most deprived families get a better start in life, saw no problem stopping the Building Schools for the Future programme which aimed to replace the crumbling school buildings in England and supports a party that has repeatedly justified cuts by saying tough decisions are needed.  All this and his red line turns out to be private schools paying a fair amount of tax.  

The secretary of State for Wales was so angered that he described a reasonable tax change as class warfare.  Is it too much to ask that Tory cabinet members speak up for state schools and everyone’s children with the same passion they reserve for this country’s private schools?

Fortunately, on the same programme sense was talked with robust defences of a fairer society from Labour’s Vaughan Gething and the Wales TUC’s Shav Taj, they were excellent.

The Tories can no long defend budget cuts that impact the most vulnerable as ‘difficult decisions’. Funding cuts for public services and state schools is a political choice and so too is defending the charitable status of private schools. 

Governing is about priorities, and we need a Labour Government in Westminster led my bold and caring Keir Starmer putting the wellbeing of the many ahead of the privileges of the wealthy few.

 

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