Tag: #maketheuturn

Marcus Rashford campaign forces humiliating government U-turn over free school meals


Marcus Rashford’s campaign to urge the government to extend free school meal vouchers over the summer holidays has ended in victory following a government U-turn this afternoon.

The Manchester United forward, who campaigned to keep the scheme which will help feed 1.3 million children, welcomed the decision saying: “Just look at what we can do when we all come together.”

Rashford had won widespread support for his open letter to MPs, which made an impassioned plea to extend the food voucher scheme. He recalled his own hardship growing up in Wythenshawe and the sacrifices made by his mother to put food on the table.

Although the school meals scheme had already been extended to cover the Easter holidays, government ministers had repeatedly declared they would not be extending the scheme to cover the summer break.

But Rashford said he was not giving up his campaign and attracted cross party backing including a number of Tory MPs.

And hours before Labour was due to present a motion in parliament calling for the government to bow to public pressure, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson announced the scheme would be given extra funding to cover the summer holidays.

The spokesperson said: “Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face and entirely unprecedented situation over the summer.

“To reflect this we will be providing food vouchers over the six week summer holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic. The scheme will not continue beyond the summer.”

Rashford’s victory has been praised by sports groups and food poverty campaigners across Wythenshawe.





Rashford continues to put pressure on government over free school meals

Marcus Rashford Pic: Дмитрий Голубович

Marcus Rashford’s plea to extend the government’s free school meal voucher scheme throughout the summer holidays will be discussed in Parliament this afternoon.

The Manchester United footballer’s open letter to MPs calling for a U-turn on the plan to halt the scheme at the end of this term was rejected by the government yesterday.

But Rashford, who emotionally recalled his childhood in Wythenshawe is his letter , said he was not giving up and is putting more pressure on MPs today as they meet to discuss the future of the scheme.

Rashford’s letter won widespread support and praise from the public, politicians and fellow sports stars and in a series of tweets today he said: “When you head to the fridge to grab the milk, stop and recognise that parents of at least 200,000 children across the country this morning are waking up to empty shelving, recognise children around the country are this morning innocently questioning ‘why?’

“Nine out of 30 children in any given classroom are today asking ‘why?’ Why does our future not matter?”

Opposition MPs have tabled a motion calling for a U-turn on the issue and there is growing unease among some Tory back bench MPs about the government’s refusal to reverse the decision.

The government says it is  running a holiday activities and food programme to benefit thousands of  disadvantaged children this summer and is supplying £63 million to local councils in England to allow for targeted support to assist those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to covid-19.

But Rashford is calling for more pressure on the government, with one Tory backbencher predicting an eventual U-turn, according to the BBC.