Footballer’s campaign ensures free food for 1.3M children

Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford’s open letter to English MPs has led to a U-turn on free school meal vouchers by the government.

During this lockdown, the government is providing electronic vouchers to families of children who qualify for free school meals. But it had insisted that this would discontinue outside of term time.

Campaigners have been calling for free meals to be offered during the holidays for weeks now. The 22-year-old Manchester United forward joined the campaign by penning an open letter, leading to the reversal in the decision by the government.

At the daily coronavirus briefing in Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I talked to Marcus Rashford today and congratulated him on his campaign which to be honest I only became aware of very recently, today – and I thank him for what he’s done.”

“Clearly free schools meals should generally apply in term time… but we have to understand the pressure that families are under right now. It will help the kids from the families that really need it,” he added.

The ‘COVID summer food fund’ works out at about £15 a week per recipient and will cost around £120m.

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