Rashford ‘overwhelmed with pride’ as UK government agrees to new child food poverty plan

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The Manchester United star appears to have forced another change of Downing Street policy over the provision of help to disadvantaged youngsters

Marcus Rashford says he has been left “overwhelmed with pride” after his latest campaigning prompted the UK government to propose a new plan to combat child food poverty.

The striker spoke with prime minister Boris Johnson on Saturday after Manchester United’s 3-1 Premier League win at Everton, to discuss help for underprivileged families in the winter months.

Rashford has been leading a campaign to have the government’s free school meals scheme extended over the holidays to help struggling families, particularly those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the latest UK lockdown measures.

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In June, the England star successfully lobbied the government to extend its policy of providing free school meals for underprivileged children outside term time, and he launched an online petition last month calling on the authorities to extend the scheme through to Easter 2021.

The motion was voted down in parliament, but after continued lobbying by Rashford, Johnson has reportedly set aside £170 million ($220m) to provide additional support to disadvantaged children over the Christmas period.

— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) November 8, 2020
“I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK,” Rashford said in a social media post.

“There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7m children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.

“I am so proud of ‘us’ as a collective. ‘Us’ being the local businesses, charity workers, volunteers, teachers, social workers, carers, and key workers. Together we have demonstrated the power of kindness and compassion. We have shown that when it comes down to the wire, we will always have each other.

“Seeing the role everyone has played in supporting our most vulnerable children has been the greatest moment of my life. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding.”

Rashford has also urged the government to work with the Child Food Poverty Task Force, a body set up by the 23-year-old that includes some of the UK’s biggest food brands and supermarkets, “to guarantee” that no child goes hungry.

He wrote: “Today, I’m overwhelmed with pride that we have made such significant progress. ‘We’ will not give up on our children. ‘We’ will not give up on the future of this country.”

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