At the launch event in Lancashire today (April 6), Corbyn will say: “No child in the UK should go hungry at school. By charging VAT on private school fees, Labour will make sure all primary school children, no matter what their background, get a healthy meal at school.”
Corbyn suggests imposing VAT charges on private schools which are currently VAT-exempt.
Responding to the announcement, Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) chair Sally Shadrack said: “LACA members and the entire school food industry welcome this announcement and the recognition that free school meals can make a significant difference to health and education of children.
“Packed lunches continue to provide woefully little nutrition to children, as recently as two weeks ago we had reports of pupils bringing in leftover takeaways to school for their lunch and instances such as this remain all too common.
“Free, nutritious meals provided on a universal basis have been shown to have a number of wide-ranging positive impacts on both children, schools and parents. LACA will continue to fight to ensure that as many children as possible receive a healthy meal at lunchtime, during the term time and throughout the year.”
Under the current system, students in reception class, year one and year two are eligible for non-means tested school meals.