There is a new proposal by Labour to charge parents VAT on top of private school fees, to fund free school meals for primary school children at state schools. This has met both support and opposal…
Many school children do not eat breakfast or lunch before or during school. This drastically affects their attention span and can result in the children becoming disruptive, lethargic and/or hyper. Although some children currently get school meals if their parents are on benefits, there are still a large number of families with employed parents but whom are still below the poverty line.
Furthermore, some people believe that richer people should use their wealth to help other, less fortunate people; and some private school parents have said they would not mind paying the tax if it would benefit poorer children.
Firstly, many parents just barely have enough money to send their children to private schools as it is, and choose their children’s education over holidays or a bigger house or better car. The VAT would target middle-income families who may as a result be forced to send their children to state schools instead, putting additional pressure on state schools. This would drive state school class sizes up more than they already are.
One argument is that it is the parents’ responsibility to feed their children, not the state’s (or the taxpayer). Moreover, parents of private school children already pay taxes which contribute towards state education – which does not benefit their children in private education – on top of their own children’s school fees. This could be considered unfair.
To conclude, make of this proposal what you will. It may never be put into effect, but it is important to consider both sides before a decision is made.