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Marcus Rashford causes governmental u-turn on child food poverty

£170m Covid grant to support vulnerable families in England

Marcus Rashford Mural In Manchester Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford is dominant on the pitch and also in the British Parliament. Rashford has forced another u-turn by the British government on the program he has championed to feed needy schoolchildren.

Just last month Parliament voted against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision following Rashford’s campaign.

As a result, businesses and councils across the country stepped up following the result, announcing they would fund meals during the October half-term for those who needed them.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the government had faced mounting pressure from MPs and the public to U-turn on its refusal to provide school meals for children during school holidays until Easter 2021.

After United’s 3-1 win against Everton on Saturday, Rashford received an unexpected call from Johnson.

The Prime Minister personally phoned the Rashford to alert him to the decision to give £170 million of extra funding for the measure to provide free school meals to underprivileged children over the holidays during the coronavirus crisis.

On Saturday, Rashford posted on Twitter that he had spoken with Johnson earlier on Saturday, saying: “Just had a great conversation with the Prime Minister, now is the time for collaboration” but didn't go into much detail.

Later in the day Rashford spoke on the conversation and U-Turn saying, that he was ‘so proud’ of those who had united behind his campaign and that he was ‘overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding’, promising his supporters to ‘fight for the rest of my life’ to end child hunger in the UK.

In a statement, he said: ‘Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the Prime Minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK.

‘There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the Government have shown today is nothing but positive, and they should be recognized for that.

In addition, the holiday activities and food program will also be expanded across England next year.

Rashford added: “I don’t want any child to go through what I went through, and any parent to experience what my mother experienced. I now call on the government to collaborate with the child food poverty taskforce to guarantee that no child does.

“As a collective we are so powerful, and we all have a role to play in this. Today, I’m overwhelmed with pride that we have made such significant progress. We will not give up on our children. We will not give up on the future of this country.”

The United and England star has been campaigning for months to get the Government to provide free school meals to underprivileged children over the holidays during the coronavirus crisis, earning his MBE in recognition of his efforts.