VAT: Sixth Form Colleges

MP for Waveney Peter Aldous along with a cross-party group of 75 MPs, led by Conservative Graham Stuart, the Chairman of the Education Select Committee, has written to Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, urging her to support the introduction of a VAT refund scheme for the 93 Sixth Form Colleges in England, which include Lowestoft Sixth Form College. 
At present, school and academy sixth forms have their VAT costs refunded by the Government, while Sixth Form Colleges do not.  As a result, the average Sixth Form College has to redirect £335,000 of its annual funding away from the front line education of students to pay VAT. 
The MPs, who all represent constituencies which either contain or are served by a Sixth Form College, warn the Government that “the VAT anomaly threatens the success of a high performing sector”. The letter has been warmly welcomed by the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association that published a survey last year indicating that 68% of its members had dropped courses and 71% had reduced enrichment activities (such as drama, music and sport) because of funding pressures.
The Department for Education estimates that it would cost in the region of £30 million per annum to refund the VAT costs of Sixth Form Colleges. In response to a parliamentary question tabled last month, schools minister David Laws said that the Government was “sympathetic” to the case for doing so but it was “not affordable” at the present time. By contrast, the MPs write that a VAT rebate “would be both effective and affordable” and urge the Secretary of State to “give this idea serious consideration”.
Commenting on the letter, Peter Aldous said:
“I see at first hand the excellent work being done by Lowestoft Sixth Form College, who are the only provider of A Level courses in the town. It is wrong that Sixth Form Colleges still have to pay VAT, when schools and academies can reclaim those costs. This means that they are not operating on a level playing field. Young people should receive the same level of investment in their education, irrespective of where they choose to study.”

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
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