News

Marcus Rashford: Government make U-turn on free school meals for eligible children this summer

0 50

Prime minister Boris Johnson has made a U-turn on free school meal vouchers for eligible children this summer.

Just hours before Labour were due to force a vote in the House of Commons about providing free school meals during the summer holiday for the poorest children in the country, the official spokesperson for the prime minister announced that the conservative government will be setting up a £120 million “Covid summer food fund”.

This comes just a day after 22-year-old Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford wrote an open letter to Parliament asking them to reconsider their decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.

Official government data shows that 1.3 million children in England are eligible for free school meals, which equates to approximately 15.4% of state educated pupils.

The data also shows that the greatest need for the free meals are found in parts of London, the North and the Midlands where between a quarter and a third of pupils received free school meals.

It is thought that parents will be given a one-off voucher worth £15 for six weeks for each child eligible.

On Monday Rashford was interviewed by BBC Breakfast to discuss why he is so passionate about children having access to free school meals over the summer.

Talking to BBC News correspondent Sally Nugent, Rashford said: “45% of people like me, black people, people in different minorities, they’re living in poverty and I was very close to being one of the 45%.

“So I understand that it could have gone either way for me. I’m grateful it went this way for me but it doesn’t make me forget about what happened in the past and I obviously want to help those people as much as I can.”

Provisions for pupils in Scotland and Wales during the six week summer holiday between July and September was already scheduled to continue.

Downing Street has said that the scheme is in place to ensure that children who are forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus will not go hungry over the holidays. The scheme will end in September where pupils are expected to go back to their class room.

Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted: “This is another welcome U-turn from Boris Johnson. The thought of 1.3 million children going hungry this summer was unimaginable. Well done to Marcus Rashford and many others who spoke out so powerfully about this issue.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnston is yet to speak out about the move.

Rashford tweeted his reaction to the free school meals continuation in England, writing: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”

Conservative MPs such as Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and George Freeman MP for Mid Norfolk have tweeted their support for the announcement, crediting Marcus Rashford and Boris Johnson amongst others for the decision.

About the author / 

Shawna Healey

I'm Shawna, 21, and Welsh studying Geography at MMU. I have varying interests and opinions but usually its all things feminism.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Interview: The Super Late Night on His Latest Track, Working as a One-Man Band/Producer and Keeping His Music Unashamedly Personal

    Manchester-based artist, The Super Late Night, is quickly taking the alt-pop world by storm. Boasting a tendency for dramatic hooks and powerful melodies dripping with synth – it’s little wonder why.  The self-described “emo but charismatic” artist, released his debut single, ‘Honey’, around two months ago. It is an emo-pop masterpiece, perfectly encompassing the extreme feelings…

  • ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’: The Legacy of AIDS PSAs in a World of Coronavirus

    In the years before James Cameron’s Titanic, an eerie iceberg appearing on their television screens carried a very different connotations for Britons living in the 1980s. The ominous block of ice had hidden dangers – as icebergs tend to – namely, the word ‘AIDS’ etched out in large letters, hidden beneath the surface of the…

  • Crystal Tides Return With Indie-Pop Anthem ‘Monday’

    Featured Image: Rhona Murphy Portsmouth-based band Crystal Tides are back, with their latest indie-pop anthem ‘Monday’. Since their formation in 2018, the band have built up a strong following, resulting in many memorable sold-out shows in their hometown. However, with their penchant for catchy melodies and relatable lyrics, it surely won’t be long until they’re playing packed…

  • What More Do We Know About Shukri Abdi?

    Last July, aAh! Magazine reported on the tragic death of Shukri Abdi, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Bury who was found dead in the River Irwell. A group of children were with her in the run up to her death. At the time of her death, it was widely speculated that her death was not an…