Tony Lloyd, the Labour Party candidate, has promised to campaign to maintain free schools meals and extend it all primary school children, funded by adding VAT on private education fees, if elected as Rochdale’s MP.
His promise follows the Conservative Party election pledge to scrap free meals for the youngest children at primary school.
Mr Lloyd says thousands of Rochdale children will lose out if free school meals for under eight year-olds are axed.
He said: “It will cost parents £240 a year for every child hit by the mean cut.
“This Tory Manifesto pledge will hit around 5,000 Rochdale children from struggling families.
“As Labour MP for Rochdale I will campaign to maintain free schools meals and extend it all primary school children. This will be funded by adding VAT on private education fees.”
Research by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) to say the free meals policy would improve pupils’ concentration in class and help them develop quicker.
Mr Lloyd added: “The offer of free school meals has never been more essential since austerity started under the Tories in 2010. It’s about making sure our youngest children develop as the best they can, and a nutritious, healthy meal at lunchtime is an essential ingredient for that.
“I have grandchildren of my own, and I want the best for them, like I do for every child, I will fight for fair deal for Rochdale.”