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.”
I don’t even know what to say.
Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 16, 2020
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.
He’s only gone & done it!!! 🌟
Fantastic campaign from our Wythenshawe Wonder!!
True Manchester hero right under our noses!!
Brilliant @MarcusRashford well done lad 🥙❤️⚽️👏🏾👏🏾#UTurn #MarcusRashford #WythenshaweWonder #RoleModel #NoChildShouldGoHungry pic.twitter.com/Cfm4g5KjIn
— WythenshaweCC/Sports (@wythycc_sports) June 16, 2020
Well done to Wythenshavian Marcus Rashford 👍 @MarcusRashford #Wythenshawe https://t.co/zBd8SgdTyW
— Wythenshawe Amateurs (@wythenshaweafc) June 16, 2020
Firstly sticks Wythenshawe on the map, then literally changes the lives of every poverty stricken child in the UK!
Now that really is a HERO of the nation…
What a guy!! #maketheUturn #MarcusRashford #schoolmeals4summer https://t.co/wrBMiCz6uz
— Craig Monaghan (@craig_monaghan) June 16, 2020
Standing up for what is right ❤️❤️❤️#schoolmeals4summer
Fighting for #livingwage
Fighting for end of #austerity
Will others now please follow suit! https://t.co/aoqDUEVDu1
— Cracking Good Food (@CrackingFood) June 16, 2020