Goverment U-turn on free school meals after Marcus Rashford campaign

Goverment U-turn on free school meals after Marcus Rashford campaign.

An estimated 1.3 million children will receive free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays, following a campaign by Manchester United forward, Marcus Rashford.

Food vouchers – for £15 a week – will be made available to those children in England who are currently eligible for the scheme, and will last for six weeks in what has been called a “Covid Summer Food Fund”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said he “understands children and parents face unprecedented situations” during the coronavirus outbreak.

He added that payment will be made through vouchers – most likely a one-off six-week voucher, to be given to eligible families at the end of term and able to be spent in supermarkets.


The spokesman added that the PM welcomed Rashford’s “contribution to the debate around poverty and respects he’s been using his profile as a leading sportsman to highlight important issues”.

The Department for Education had denied any change was likely in a statement on Monday, with a spokesperson saying:

“The national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays.”

But the government has changed tact after Manchester United striker Rashford kept up his campaign.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the move was a “welcome U-turn”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Mr Rashford’s “contribution to the debate around poverty”.

Downing Street said:

“All children eligible for free school meals in term time in England will benefit from the “Covid summer food fund.”

The support works out as about £15 a week per recipient, and will cost about £120m.

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