Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has urged the UK government to reconsider its decision not to run the current food voucher scheme during the school summer holidays.
The national voucher system was introduced in March to help low-income families feed their children when schools were closed under lock-down measures during the corona virus pandemic.
Vouchers worth £15 a week are eligible for the families of about 1.3m children in England who are on free school meals, but ministers announced earlier this month that the scheme would not run during the summer holiday period.
Manchester United and England striker Rashford has raised more than £20m for charity after partnering with Fare Share during the lock-down period and insists he will “keep fighting” to tackle the issue of child hunger. In a powerful and passionate open letter to MPs, he urged them to reverse their decision.
“This is not about politics; this is about humanity,” Rashford said. “Looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we did everything we could to protect those who can’t, for whatever reason or circumstance, protect themselves. Political affiliations aside, can we not all agree that no child should be going to bed hungry?
“Food poverty in England is a pandemic that could span generations if we don’t course correct now.
“The government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy – I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England.