Tories ditch plan for education vouchers

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The Independent Online

The Conservatives have ruled out the introduction of education vouchers for parents if they win the next election.

David Willetts, their education spokesman, told a conference yesterday at Wellington College, an independent school in Berkshire: "David Cameron and I are quite clear - we're not pursuing the idea of the full-blown voucher."

Under the scheme, which was Conservative policy at the last election, parents would have been given a flat-rate voucher of some £5,000 a year to cover the cost of a child's education. They could spend it at the school of their choice, private or state.

However, Mr Willetts told a gathering of independent and state school headteachers that the scheme would mean state subsidies of £3bn a year to the 600,000 or so parents who already sent their children to independent schools. He said there would be nothing to stop independent schools raising their fees by £5,000 and pocketing the cash from the state.