Labour pledges VAT on private school fees to fund free meals for all primary school children

Posted On: 
5th April 2017

A Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would slap VAT on private school fees to introduce free lunches for every primary pupil, the party has announced.

Labour would pay for free school meals by charging VAT on private school fees.
Credit: 
PA Images

Labour said the move - which would cost £900m a year - would "benefit the educational attainment and health of all children while ending a subsidy to the privileged few".

Mr Corbyn will announce the move at a children's holiday club in Lancashire.

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He said: "No child in the UK should go hungry at school. By charging VAT on private schools fees, Labour will make sure all primary school children, no matter what their background, get a healthy meal at school.

"The next Labour Government will provide all primary school children with a free school meal, invest in our schools, and make sure no child is held back because of their background."

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "The Government’s cuts to the school budget are making school meals worse and limiting the number of children that can be fed. This decision affects the educational attainment and health of pupils. 

"While the Conservatives offer tax giveaways to their billionaire friends, they are cutting the schools budget and threatening the health and futures of all our children by denying children the basic right of a healthy lunch at school.

"By investing in our education system and providing free school meals for every primary school child, we will remove the stigma attached to free school meals, and improve health and attainment for all children."

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition introduced free school meals for 5 to 7-year-olds in 2014, but the parents of children in Years 3 to 6 have to pay for them.