Marcus Rashford launches petition to end child poverty
Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford has launched an online petition to challenge the government end child poverty.
The Manchester United striker said the Government needs to go a lot further than it already does to stop children going hungry.
He wants the government to increase the number of children who are able to get free school meals and also offer them free food and activities during school holidays in England.
“For too long this conversation has been delayed. Child food poverty in the UK is not the result of Covid-19. We must act with urgency to stabilise the households of our vulnerable children,” he said.
In June, Rashford successfully campaigned for the Government to change its mind on providing free food vouchers for families that struggled to afford meals over the summer holidays.
It meant that the parents of 1.3 million children in England were able to claim vouchers during the time off school.
The England striker has since teamed up with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets to set up a child food poverty task force which aims to get the government to provide more support to struggling families.
Rashford, who has recently been given an MBE for services to vulnerable children, said: “Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgment, child poverty is never a child’s fault.”
“Right now, a generation who have already been penalised during this pandemic with lack of access to educational resources are now back in school struggling to concentrate due to worry and the sound of their rumbling bellies,” he added.
Some new research from the charity, Food Foundation suggests that nearly a fifth of 8-17-year-olds reported experiences of food difficulties over the summer holidays. That’s the equivalent of 1.4 million children.
A Government spokesperson said: “We have taken substantial action to make sure children and their families do not go hungry, extending free school meals support when schools were closed, extending our welfare support by £9.3 billion and funding councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food.”