Marcus Rashford's plea for school meal vouchers to be given to poor children over Christmas and other holidays has been rejected by the UK government.

Rashford launched the petition on Thursday morning calling on the government to allocate their budget to further tackle child hunger in the United Kingdom.

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But a No.10 spokesperson says there will be no changes to its policy.

He said: "We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We’re in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils.

"It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays. We believe the best way to support families outside of term time is through Universal Credit rather than government subsidising meals."

Rashford responded to the news on Twitter, posting: "Merry Christmas kids... it’s also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are. 250% increase in food poverty and rising... This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I..."

THE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 1.5m children aged between seven and 16
  • Expansion of holiday provision (food and activities) to support all children on free school meals, reaching an additional 1.1m children
  • Increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week (from £3.10) and expanding into all those on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 290,000 pregnant women and children under the age of four.

Nearly a million more children, on top of the 1.4 million who have been claiming free school lunches during the Covid-19 pandemic, are estimated to have registered for free school meals in the last month.

Rashford – ‘I speak out on things I believe in; I’m happy to have helped as many kids as we have’

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