Rishi Sunak accuses Keir Starmer of attacking ‘aspiration’ with plans to strip private schools of tax breaks – but Labour leader swipes that ministers should focus on ‘driving up standards in Southampton’ instead of ‘rifle ranges at Winchester’
- Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer clashed over private school tax breaks at PMQs
- Labour leader complained PM’s old public school receives a taxpayer subsidy
- Mr Sunak accused Sir Keir of being against ‘hard-working aspirations of millions’
In brutal exchanges at PMQs, the Labour leader launched a barrage of personal jibes at Mr Sunak – demanding to know why his old public school Winchester receives taxpayer subsidies.
He insisted the funding should instead be going to driving up standards in places like Southampton, Mr Sunak’s home town.
But the PM shot back that Labour was against the ‘hard-working aspiration of millions’, and said the government was improving the education system for everyone.
However, critics argue that the move would put up to 200 sites at risk of going bust because of families being priced out and leaving – while the state sector would struggle to pick up the slack.
In brutal exchanges at PMQs, the Labour leader launched a barrage of personal jibes at Rishi Sunak (pictured) – demanding to know why his old public school Winchester receives taxpayer subsidies
Sir Keir (pictured) insisted the funding should instead be going to driving up standards in places like Southampton, Mr Sunak’s home town
Opening the hostilities at a rowdy PMQs session, Sir Keir said: ‘Winchester College has a rowing club, a rifle club, an extensive art collection, they charge over £45,000 a year in fees.
‘Why did he hand them nearly £6million of taxpayers’ money this year in what his Levelling Up Secretary (Michael Gove) calls egregious state support?’
Mr Sunak said: ‘I’m pleased he wants to talk about schools, because we have recently announced billions more funding for our schools.
‘We’re helping millions of the most disadvantaged children catch up with their lost learning. And we’re driving up school standards.
‘During Covid, he wanted to keep schools closed. We shouldn’t be surprised because I listen to parents and he listens to his union paymasters.’
Mr Sunak accused the Labour leader of attacking ‘the hard-working aspiration of millions’ over his criticism of tax breaks for private schools.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘His Levelling Up Secretary… who after all was education secretary for four years, said you could scarcely find a better way of ending burning injustices than scrapping these handouts.’
He added: ‘Just done the road in Southampton… four in every 10 pupils failed their English or maths GCSE this year… is that £6 million of taxpayers’ money better spent on rifle ranges in Winchester or driving up standards in Southampton?’
Mr Sunak said: ‘He talks about school standards – it’s under a Conservative Government and thanks to the reforms of the former education secretary that now almost 90 per cent of schools are good or outstanding.
‘Whenever he attacks me about where I went to school, he is attacking the hard-working aspiration of millions of people in this country, he’s attacking people like my parents.
‘This is a country that believes in opportunity not resentment. He doesn’t understand that and that’s why he’s not fit to lead.’
The PM shot back that Labour was against the ‘hard-working aspiration of millions’, and said the government was improving the education system for all