The Department for Education have responded to Marcus Rashford after the Manchester United star wrote a letter to MPs urging the Government to reverse the decision not to extend the food voucher scheme into the summer.
The United forward, who has raided £20m for charity FareShare to feed children, says more needs to be done to help the 1.3m pupils on free school meals.
Rashford, who relied on free meals during his time at school, claimed the system ‘isn’t built for families like mine to succeed’.
And following Rashford’s emotional plea, the Government have responded, claiming funds will be available to help vulnerable families.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “As schools open more widely and their kitchens open, we expect schools to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are not yet able to return to school.
“Where this is possible, schools can continue to offer vouchers to eligible pupils.
“Free school meals are ordinary term time only and the national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays.
“However, as announced this week by the Prime Minister, the local authority welfare assistance scheme will provide help those to who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to the impact of Covid-19.
“£63m is being allocated to this important project.
“Thousands of children will also receive additional support through our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which offers activities and free meals throughout the summer holidays.”
Rashford revealed he’d penned the letter on Monday morning.
The England international wrote: “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.
“I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.
“This is England in 2020, and this is an issue that needs urgent assistance.
“Please, while the eyes of the nation are on you, make the U-turn and make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority.
“I have listened when fathers have told me they are struggling with depression, unable to sleep, worried sick about how they are going to support their families having lost their jobs unexpectedly.
“Headteachers who are personally covering the cost of food packages for their vulnerable families after the school debit card has been maxed out.
“Mothers who can’t cover the cost of increased electricity and food bills during the lockdown, and parents who are sacrificing their own meals for their children.
“In 2020, it shouldn’t be a case of one or the other.”
Published at Mon, 15 Jun 2020 12:33:00 +0000