The Political Economy Review 2017

free trade in goods while not being bound by the “four freedoms”. In this case, the UK would gain greater control over its borders whilst also being free to pursue new trade links with countries such as the US, China and Canada and also maintaining a good trading relationship with the EU. However, there would still be tariffs on services which would harm the UK’s thriving financial services sector and UK goods would still be subject to EU standards on goods which some businesses might find obstructive. The World Trade Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates international trade and a trade deal could be coordinated through this body. A trade deal organized through the WTO would mean that the UK would again no longer be bound by the “four freedoms” and be free to control immigration as it sees fit and the UK would be free to form FTAs with the US and other countries, yet the economic impact of this option would be greater than a FTA with the EU as the UK would no longer enjoy tariff-free trade with the EU in any capacity. According to PwC, both options will harm the economy in the short and long run, with PwC predicting that GDP will be - 3.1% in 2020 and -1.2% in 2030 with the FTA scenario and -5.5% in 2020 and -3.5% in 2030 under the WTO scenario. While this appears not at all promising these are just predictions of a couple of many possible scenarios which don’t take into account many of the nuances of a Brexit deal or possible trade agreements with other countries. No one does really know how the UK economy will be affected by its divorce with the UK but there is one thing that can be expected: in the short term, the effects will be adverse. __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ Within the UK alone there are over 2,400 private schools. It is believed over half of these institutions hold some form of charity status- that is to say they are non-profit organisations that are run with the aim of creating public or external benefit. In order to maintain their charitable status, schools are required to do a number of things to improve the welfare of the community in which they are encompassed, whether it be through the formation of partnerships with state schools or the sharing of facilities. As a result, the schools also receive certain benefits, the most contentious of which being a possible tax relief of up to 80%. In order to conclude whether public schools should maintain their titles as charities it is firstly important to assess and answer a number of questions: Are these schools creating public benefit? Do they deserve the tax breaks afforded to them by the government? What would be the consequences if their charitable stature was revoked? The first issue to be addressed is the level of public benefit, if any, private schools create. The Charity Commission for England and Wales states that a form of public benefit duty is the sharing of facilities with local state schools: it is in this way that many private schools are able to benefit the wider community. Another form of benefit comes in the form of bursaries. In 2014, roughly 40,000 children from underprivileged families attended independent schools on some form of bursary and roughly £350 million a year is committed to giving children free higher education in independent schools. Looking at the wider picture, it is also clear to see the benefits such schools bring to the country. They employ 227,000 people in total, contribute £9.5 billion to GDP a year, and it was found that people coming from private education add £1 billion annually to GDP. - OTHER - Should Public Schools retain their charity statuses? C ONOR H UGHES


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