THE Scottish Parliament would be in line for a £100 million windfall under Labour plans to impose VAT on private school fees, according to shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Speaking to the Herald on Sunday, the senior shadow cabinet figure said Holyrood would get a “fair” share of resources from a policy his party believes could raise over £1bn.

He also claimed that improvements made to the school system by Labour would “eradicate the desire” of parents to use the independent sector.

However John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independence Schools, said:

“Every year, our schools save the Scottish education budget £180m, add £450m to the Scottish economy and generate £250m in tax. In straightened times, they secure high attainment and offer subject choice, varied curricula, wide extra-curricular provision and learning support. They should be left alone to continue that contribution to the nation.”

Labour last year unveiled plans to remove the “VAT exemption” on private school fees, the proceeds from which would be used to pay for free school meals in the state sector.

Across the UK, around 6.5 per cent of pupils are estimated to be educated independently, although the figure is lower in Scotland. North of the border, 29,647 children and young people – 4.1% of the total – attended one of the 72 establishments that were members of the Scis in 2016.

Defenders of the Labour plan believe it would provide a spending boost in state schools, while critics said it would create an exodus from the private sector which would end up costing the taxpayer.

McDonnell, an ally of leader Jeremy Corbyn, spoke to this newspaper about the impact of a policy Labour believes could raise between £1bn and £1.5bn.

With most of the proceeds earmarked for increased education spending, the Scottish Parliament could expect to receive a fixed share under the Barnett Formula.

He said: “Our view is that private schools should be treated no differently in terms of their services than any others. That’s why we believe charging VAT is fair.

“That would give us the opportunity of raising significant funds that could then be invested in education as a whole. We don’t see why private schools should be treated differently in this way.”

The MP said Labour is working on “detailed” costings for the policy but said £100m would be line with what Holyrood could expect under Barnett.

In the context of investment and improvement in state schools, he added: “I can see private schools becoming unnecessary.”

Private schools are also facing higher costs in Scotland after the SNP Government backed the abolition of the tax relief they enjoyed on business rates, a decision that may cost the sector £5m.

Scottish Tory MSP Liz Smith said: “It is very disappointing to see a sustained attack on independent schools at a time when they have met the conditions of tougher charity tests and increased their provision of bursary support for those families who would otherwise not be able to attend independent schools.”