Boris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford's call for free school meals over Christmas

Elias Hubbard
October 16, 2020

Rashford, who was recently awarded an MBE for his efforts campaigning against child poverty, has previously succeeded in forcing government u-turns that ensured children entitled to free school meals would receive the same help during the easter and summer holidays during lockdown.

Rashford has smashed through the 100,000 signatures needed on his petition to trigger a debate on child food poverty in Parliament, where Sportsmail understands he can expect strong cross-party support.

During the coronavirus crisis, the 22-year-old has been campaigning against child food poverty in the United Kingdom, for which he was made an MBE.

The spokesman added: "We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown".

"For too long this conversation has been delayed. We're in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils", a no.10 spokesperson said. 250% increase in food poverty and rising. "We must act with urgency to stabilise the households of our vulnerable children", Rashford said.

"Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgment, food poverty is never the child's fault".

The campaign comes as charity Food Foundation has released data which suggests almost a fifth (18%) of eight to 17-year-olds reported experiences of food insecurity over the summer holidays. Let's protect our young.

Extrapolated to reflect the United Kingdom population, this suggests 1.4 million children are experiencing food insecurity.

After news of the latest rejection, Rashford responded: 'It's also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are.

"I'm calling on you all today to help me prove to them that being British is something to be proud of".

The Welsh Government has been the first to act, committing yesterday to holiday food provision for the foreseeable future.

Anna Taylor, executive director of Food Foundation, said: "School holidays are a financial pressure point which many families just can't afford at the moment".

"The Government needs to put in place a permanent solution to school holiday hunger and implement the recommendations in the National Food Strategy". Hunger does not take a holiday.

Marcus Rashford is looking to change the government's stance once again after it emerged Boris Johnson had rejected his plea for free school meals to be provided for vulnerable children over holidays such as Christmas. I would be doing my community, and the families I have met and spoken with, an injustice if I didn't use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister, who recommended me for this honour, to support our children during the October half term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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