Anas Sarwar’s alma mater has criticised Labour’s plan to charge VAT on private school fees, warning that it will hurt children receiving bursaries the most.

Mike Martin, the Rector of Hutchesons’ Grammar in Glasgow’s Southside, said the policy would “lead to fewer families being able to educate their children" at the school and add to pressure on cash-strapped local authorities.

Sir Keir Starmer's party believes the change could raise an extra £1.7bn for the Treasury.

Polls suggest the plan is popular, with the most recent YouGov survey suggesting 55% of voters believe private schools should lose their tax exemptions.

But the push has infuriated parents who send their children to fee-paying establishments.

A petition started by Tony Perry, from the Education Not Taxation group, has now been signed by more than 90,000 people.

READ MORE: Hutchesons' is first Scots private school to recognise unions

Hutchesons' - where annual fees range from £12,317 to £15,877 - is one of the country's most prominent independent schools. 

Both Mr Sarwar and First Minister Humza Yousaf are former pupils. 

The Scottish Labour leader also sends his children to the school.

Speaking to The Herald on Sunday, Mr Martin said: “Adding VAT to fees would lead to fewer families being able to educate their children at our school.

“Hutchesons’ Grammar School provides fee assistance to more than 70 families, nearly 100 pupils.

“These families' finances have been rigorously means tested.

“We know they are not able to increase the contribution they make therefore the impact will affect those on fee assistance the most.

“We also know our wider parent body extremely well and know that many of our families sacrifice a great deal in order to give their children a Hutchesons' education.

“We fear that many of them will also struggle with a 20% increase to their fees.”

He said the school's pupils came from eleven different local authorities, all of which would be “forced to increase spending on additional school places.”

The criticism from the school echoes the Scottish Council for Independent Schools, who warned that forcing their members to hike fees would “place an added strain on the state sector.”

The body, which represents more than 70 fee-paying schools across the country, also warned that the move could "disrupt the education of thousands of children and young people.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar admits 'hypocrisy' over his children's private education

Lorraine Davidson, the group’s Chief Executive said: “The Scottish Council of Independent Schools has commissioned independent analysis of the contribution the sector makes to the economy and the consequences for the state sector of Labour's plans to impose VAT on independent school fees.

“We will make this evidence available to the Scottish Government, CoSLA and political parties as soon as it is available.

“Adding VAT to fees would disrupt the education of thousands of children and young people and place an added strain on the state sector.

“Independent schools in Scotland are committed to working in partnership with state schools and local communities for the benefit of as many children and young people as possible and want to build on this work. We believe there is more to be gained for all learners in Scotland by working with the independent sector, rather than against it."

Scottish Labour declined to comment.