Independent schools count £37m cost of rates changes

Private schools in Scotland face far higher costs than first estimated under plans to end charitable relief for the sector.

They will have to find a combined total of more than £7 million a year, instead of £5 million as originally forecast, according to documents published alongside the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill.

This could mean smaller, rural schools have to pay bills worth about £500 to £600 per pupil, according to the Scottish Council of Independent Schools.

Critics of the Bill, which was introduced to the Holyrood parliament last week and is now under scrutiny by ministers, say the changes will curb independent schools’ ability to widen access to poorer pupils via bursaries. Fees could also rise and assets be sold off, they argue.

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