Marcus Rashford pushes Boris Johnson to extend free school meals to any household claiming benefits


MARCUS Rashford today heaps fresh pressure on Boris Johnson to spend more on helping hungry kids.

The England star has launched an official Commons petition for his plan to have free school meals extended to any household that claims benefits – reaching an extra 1.5 million under 16s.

Marcus Rashford is calling on the Government to extend free school meals to all households claiming benefits

It needs 100,000 signatures to spark a debate by MPs, with the campaigning striker urging all Brits to sign up as “whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault.”

The petition comes just days after the millionaire Man Utd forward was given an MBE by the PM for his work tackling child food poverty.

In England there are more than 1.3 million children who can for free school meals -making up about 15 per cent of state school kids.

But Mr Rashford says that should be doubled.

And he wants the scheme extended to cover the October half term holidays in the short run, but is leading a longer campaign to eradicate child hunger for good.

His End Child Food Poverty movement has been backed by dozens of food firms, charities and celebs.


Last night he said: “In 2020, no child in the UK should be going to bed hungry, nor should they be sat in classrooms concerned about how their younger siblings are going to eat that day, or how they are going to access food come the holidays.”

“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 stomachs.”

He added: “Let’s protect our young. Let’s wrap arms around each other and stand together to say that this is unacceptable, that we are united in protecting our children.

Boris Johnson gave Rashford an MBE for his work tackling child food poverty

Actress Emma Thompson has backed Marcus Rashford’s campaign

“Today, millions of children are finding themselves in the most vulnerable of environments and are beginning to question what it really means to be British. I’m calling on you all today to help me prove to them that being British is something to be proud of.”

And actress Dame Emma Thompson backed his campaign saying: “There is absolutely no need for any child to go hungry in the UK. The fact that they are and in increasing numbers suggests cracks in a broken food system that can and must be repaired as a matter of the utmost urgency. Apart from the moral duty we owe to children, this is a severe public health problem.”

Readers can sign the petition here.

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