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Marcus Rashford Wins Free School Meal Vouchers For Kids Over The Summer After Government U-Turn

Marcus Rashford has managed to get free school meal vouchers for kids during the summer holidays, following his successful campaign. 

After a successful campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, 1.3 million eligible children will be given free school meal vouchers during the six-week summer holidays.

The 22-year-old Manchester United forward has welcomed the government U-turn and commented: “Look at what we can do when we come together.”

Following the change of plan, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said it very much “welcome” decision.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised Rashford’s tremendous “contribution to the debate around poverty”.

Downing Street has announced that all children eligible for free school meals in term time in England will benefit from the “COVID summer food fund”.

This kind of support works out at £15 a week per recipient and in total costs around £120 million to run.

Chris Mason, a BBC political correspondent, has said that he was told this was “additional funding agreed by the Treasury”.

On Monday, an open letter was posted to MPs in which the Manchester United forward drew up from his own experiences as a child, as he relied on free school meals and food banks whilst growing up.

The footballer has encouraged that others think about the struggling parents who have had their “water turned off” during the coronavirus lockdown and whose children have gone hungry.

During lockdown, families across the UK have been qualifying for free meals and have received vouchers or parcels.

Originally, the plan was for it to stop at the end of the final term, although it was to continue in Scotland and Wales.

According to the latest stats available, around 1.3 million school children in England – which is the equivalent of 15.4% of state-educated pupils – have been eligible for claiming free school meals.

In 2019, the official figures showed that the need for this was the most required in London, the north and the Midlands, where it is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all pupils are entitled to free meals.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Owing to the coronavirus pandemic the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer.

“To reflect this we will be providing a COVID summer food fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.”

The spokesperson then added that the measure was a response to the “unique circumstances of the pandemic” and that it would not be continuing beyond the summer. Those that are eligible will be children which are already qualifying for free school meals.

Referring to Mr Rashford, commented: “The Prime Minister welcomes his contribution to the debate around poverty and respects the fact that he has been using his profile as a leading sportsman to highlight important issues.”

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