Marcus Rashford campaign forces government into another free school meals U-Turn
"The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months."
Marcus Rashford has spoken of his pride after his campaign to fight child food poverty saw ministers pledge £170m as part of a new winter grant scheme to help families struggling through the pandemic.
Rashford was part of the Manchester Unites side that beat Everton on Saturday afternoon and spoke to Boris Johnson after the 3-1 win at Goodison Park.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 7, 2020
“Following the game today," he said, "I had a good conversation with the Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] 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 recognised for that. The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months.”
The announcement of the new scheme comes after the government drew fierce criticism for voting down a motion to extend free school meals to children from low-income families during the recent half-term holidays last month. Rashford told the BBC that Johnson's government had U-turned on two of the three areas they wanted and 'are willing to sit down on the third'.
"I thanked him on behalf of the families"@MarcusRashford tells #BBCBreakfast what he said to the Prime Minister after he revealed a new almost £400m support package to tackle holiday hunger for children in England. https://t.co/I7X2hRrY9F pic.twitter.com/U4Pbkeyt9Y
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) November 8, 2020
The new scheme will run to the end of March, with £170m allocated to those families in the greatest need.
This is the second time this year that pressure from Rashford had forced the government into action. Boris Johnson extended the free school meal vouchers scheme until the end of the summer, following a campaign from the England international.