Marcus Rashford demands one meal a day for every child in need
"We’ve got a million miles still to go."
Marcus Rashford has called on government ministers to guarantee children in need "a meal a day" as he continues his fight against food poverty.
Rashford, who lived on free school meals as a child, feels the current situation is worse than when he was in school, and that while some small steps have been made, there is still "a million miles to go."
After his petition launched last year reached over a million signatures, Rashford spoke to the Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP in a recorded video call in which he said: "The main point is children and families … need assurances that when they fall, they are going to have someone to lean on, they’re going to be protected."
"They [ministers] should have had things in place to assure people they’re not going to hit rock bottom and have no help. Because too many people that I’ve spoken to and the families and their children, they hit that point and they’ve had to build themselves back up on their own. And for me, that’s not fair."
Having forced repeated government u-turns on free school meal provision through school holidays and during lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, Rashford now wants the government to lower the threshold for families to be entitled to free school meals.
There are currently 1.7 million kids whose families claim universal credit but do not qualify for free school meals, and the Child Poverty Action group say two in ever five children living below the poverty line do not have access to those meals they so desperately need.
“I think once they do review it they’re going to see for themselves, and the more they have closer contact to the people that they are helping, I think the more likely they are to make change," Rashford said, rather optimistically.
He added: “I believe that if the government had the information that I have, and they spoke to the people that I have spoken to, from all different areas of the country, they would want to review it and change it themselves.”