Mayor’s masterclass: Brabin backs college VAT exemption

The Mayor of West Yorkshire delivered an acting class to students at Leeds City College this week

The Mayor of West Yorkshire delivered an acting class to students at Leeds City College this week

Students at Leeds City College were treated to an acting masterclass from former Eastenders actor turned mayor Tracy Brabin this week.

In a special visit for this year’s Colleges Week, which concludes today, Labour West Yorkshire mayor Brabin also backed calls on the chancellor to exempt colleges from VAT in next week’s budget.

The group of 32 first-year acting students were “put through their paces” interpreting a script, written by Brabin, as well as hearing industry insights from the mayor.

Student Noemi Kubiak said: “Tracy gave us some really good career advice on how to support yourself as an actor in between roles. She said to use our creative skills to branch out into writing, which isn’t something I’d ever considered before.”

Creative industries on the patch are “booming” according to Brabin, “with productions like Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack showcasing our region to the world.

“I’m thrilled we’re giving young people the opportunities they need to upskill and flourish, as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire,” she said.

Abolishing requirements for colleges to pay VAT has been a headline ask from the Association of Colleges for several years and would save the sector around £200 million per year. Schools do not pay VAT.

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt is widely expected to use next week’s budget to cut taxes, but his Treasury predecessors have all declined to exempt colleges from VAT.

Ministers have previously rejected the call, saying the £200 million it would cost to exempt colleges from VAT is better spent elsewhere.

Brabin said: “At a crucial time for learning and development, college students deserve to have all the resources they need to thrive.

“That’s why we’re backing calls to even the playing field for colleges and reinvest vital funds back into the system.”

Photos: Leeds City College

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  1. JustSaying

    The Chancellor should also abolish the requirement for ITP’s to have to charge VAT on any fees on the publicly funded Apprenticeship and Advance Learner Loan programmes. FE colleges are not required to charge VAT on fees for these programmes. If a Learner wishes to choose an ITP to provide their course, then 20% VAT must be added to the Student Loan balance for the individual learner. Saddling learners with this unnecessary additional loan cost is a scandal and injustice ignored for too long!