The comment from Hodgson comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the policy today (April 6), which would be funded through charging VAT on private schools, during a visit to Lancashire for a Labour local election campaign.
Hodgson said: “Lunchtime can often be an overlooked part of the school day, which can continue to ignore the growing problem in society where more and more children are going to school hungry and are unprepared to learn because they do not have the nutrients in them to fuel their bodies and minds.
“Many of those children must wait until lunchtime to get their free school meal, whilst some will not at all and will instead pay for their meals or opt for packed lunches which have been proven to lack any nutritional value to support a child’s learning.
“This policy allows for all children to reap the educational, behavioural and health benefits which come from having a hot and healthy school meal.”
Hodgson is the MP for Washington and Sunderland West and the shadow minister for public health. She has been chair of the School Food APPG for seven years and has campaigned on universal free school meals for ten years.
Read the report on the announcement and Lead Association for Catering in Education’s (LACA) response here.