UK U-turn on food vouchers after footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a £120 million scheme to provide food vouchers for children during the summer, following a campaign by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
The government had originally said the scheme would not be extended during the six-week summer break, but had come under increasing pressure to change course.
Rashford had spent several days urging politicians to make sure pupils could continue to access the national voucher scheme — which was introduced in March to help poorer families feed their children when schools were closed because of the coronavirus. In an open letter to MPs on Monday, the Manchester United striker spoke of his experience of relying on free school meals and food banks.
“Owing to the corona pandemic, the PM fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer,” Johnson’s spokesperson said when announcing the “Covid summer food fund” for pupils in England, the Guardian reported. The support works out at about £15 a week per recipient and the vouchers can be redeemed at supermarkets.
“The prime minister welcomes Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty, and respects the fact that he has been using his profile as a sportsman to highlight important issues,” the spokesperson said.
“Just look at what we can do when we come together,” Rashford, 22, wrote on Twitter in response.
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