Boris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford's call for free school meals during Christmas holidays
Merry Christmas kids
Boris Johnson has rejected Marcus Rashford's calls to extend free school meal help to the Christmas holidays are child poverty rates increase.
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.
“We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We’re in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils,” a no.10 spokesperson said.
"It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays. We believe the best way to support families outside of term time is through Universal Credit rather than government subsidising meals."
Rashford responded to the news on Twitter, saying it's also "not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are."
He continued: "This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I."
Merry Christmas kids...
It’s also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are. 250% increase in food poverty and rising...
This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I... https://t.co/dCwT07WShz
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 15, 2020
Rashford has started a petition on the parliament website, calling on the government to end child poverty. At the time of writing, it is on 68,000 signatures and by the time you're reading this is will probably have surpassed the 100,000 threshold.
The petition explains:
Covid-19 has been tough on us all but Government should ensure children don’t pay the price:
- 14% of parents & 10% of children have experienced food insecurity over the last 6 months
- 32% of families have lost income as a result of Covid-19
- Demand for food banks this winter is predicted to be 61% higher than last.
With the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, I am calling for Government to allocate money to
- Expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit
- Provide meals & activities during all holidays
- Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme.
These 3 recommendations must be implemented without delay to #endchildfoodpoverty."