Premiership footballer Marcus Rashford is keen to do more to help those most in need after his campaign to have the free school meal voucher scheme extended throughout the summer holidays prompted a government U-turn.
An Open Letter to all MPs in Parliament…#maketheUturn
Please retweet and tag your local MPs pic.twitter.com/GXuUxFJdcv
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 14, 2020
“This is not about politics; this is about humanity,” Rashford said. “Looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we did everything we could to protect those who can’t, for whatever reason or circumstance, protect themselves. Can we not all agree that no child should be going to bed hungry?”
Rashford, a forward at Manchester United has said there are still “more steps that need to be taken” and that he was “grateful that the prime minister did change his decision”.
The campaign means that vulnerable families will be able to claim the vouchers for approximately 1.3 million children in England throughout the July and August holidays.
“I don’t want this to be the end of it because there are more steps that need to be taken and we just need to analyse the response,” Rashford said in an interview with BBC Breakfast. “People are struggling all year around so we still need to learn more about the situation people are in and how we can help them best.”
The government has made £63m available to support families in need through a new local authority welfare assistance scheme, to offer activities and free meals during the summer holidays.
Downing Street has declared that all eligible children in England would benefit from a “Covid summer food fund”. This announcement was a turnaround from the government’s decision not to extend the scheme days beforehand.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock told the BBC it was “totally reasonable” for the government to listen to arguments and change its mind, as it had done in this case. He also praised Marcus Rashford on his “impressive” campaign.
The free meals voucher scheme in England will cost £15 a week per child, and by extending it throughout the summer holidays the costs will total around £120m.