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Rashford calls on MPs to help end child food poverty

06 Sep 2021
Marcus Rashford MBE has started a national campaign encouraging people across the UK to write to their MP to support three recommendations by the National Food Strategy to help feed the nation’s children as food insecurity levels rise.

The situation is set to worsen with the £20 cut in universal credit due at end of September and food prices higher now than at the end of 2020.

Rashford, England footballer and child food poverty campaigner, said: “Whilst we’ve come a long way in the last 20 months, placing the issue of child food poverty at the forefront, devastatingly, the issue is getting worse not better. You can fill 27 Wembley stadiums with the 2.5 million children that are struggling to know where their next meal might be coming from today.

“What is it going to take for these children to be prioritised? Instead of removing support through social security, we should be focusing efforts on developing a sustainable long-term roadmap out of this child hunger pandemic.

“It will take many of us to stand together on this, and show we care about reaching those most in need in our communities.”

The three recommendations from the National Food Strategy, include:

  1. Expand Free School Meal eligibility to all children aged 7-18 in all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits, and to children that are undocumented or living in households with the NRPF immigration condition.
  2. Provide long-term funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, increasing eligibility in line with Free School Meal expansion.
  3. Expand Healthy Start eligibility to all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits with pregnant women or children under five and invest in a communications campaign to increase awareness and uptake of the scheme.

Rashford has called on the public to write to their MPs via his #EndChildFoodPoverty website. He is calling on the Government to urgently support the recommendations and include the funds needed in the Spending Review expected in October.

Less than 2% of packed lunches meet Government guidelines for a healthy and balanced school meal with high levels of foods high in fact, sugar or salt being seen in lunchboxes across the UK.

Young Food Ambassador Asha, commented: “I’m really pleased Marcus and the public are going to help children like me by writing to their MPs. Every young person should do this too and have the chance to make their voices heard #WriteNow.”