Labour plans to impose VAT on private school fees to fund free school meals

Sky News says that Jeremy Corbyn would end the “subsidy to the privileged few” and use the money to pay for school meals instead.

At a launch event in Lancashire today, Mr Corbyn will highlight research which shows that universal access to free school meals improves pupils’ productivity.

The Labour leader 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.”

The party said that in 2010 the Fabian Society estimated that introducing VAT on private school fees could raise around £1.5bn annually.

“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.”

Children in reception, year one and year two already get free school meals and Labour says extending the scheme to all primary school pupils is estimated to cost between £700m to £900m a year.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, will say, “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 Independent Schools Council (ISC), representing private schools, said Labour’s proposals did not add up and would force some smaller schools to close.

IS general secretary Julie Robinson said: “A third of pupils at our schools are on reduced fees and are from families where both parents work hard to pay the fees.

“If this measure was introduced smaller independent schools may close, driving more children back to be funded in the state system. 600,000 children are educated in independent schools, saving the taxpayer the cost of educating them.”

Read more Labour plans to impose VAT on private school fees to fund free school meals

How great is the stigma attached to free school meals? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: 1st POST, Budgets, Health and Primary.


  1. Private school fees are already pricing middle class families out of the sector with many applying for means tested bursaries. These families were once the bread and butter of the schools, but now only British upper class and International families can afford the current full fees. If VAT is charged it won’t effect those that can afford to pay it as families that live out of the UK and EU are not liable VAT. It is a terrible idea. Rather the government agreed with the schools that they would charge considerably more to international students, like the universities do, but this would effect certain countries and we’d end up with even larger cohorts of Chinese students.

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