Marcus Rashford’s campaign to allow low income families in England to claim free school meal vouchers during the holidays has prompted a government U-turn.
Whilst the government does not usually provide free school meals during the holidays, it had provided vouchers for the Easter holidays and half-term, but not during the Summer.
After raising around £20 million to help supply three million meals to vulnerable people, working with charity FareShare UK, Rashford published an emotional open letter encouraging the government to reverse its decision.
And after receiving praise from both the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his “contribution to the debate around poverty”, and from Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer for prompting a “welcome U-turn”, both Downing Street and the Scottish Government yesterday confirmed all children eligible for free school meals in term time would be able to claim them in England and Scotland during the summer holidays.
Wales had already committed to providing the meals until August, while Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster confirmed they would pursue the policy “if the necessary finances can be secured”.
Celebrating the decision on Twitter Rashford said, “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”
In a statement “to all MPs” he said he was “thankful to all that we have given these families just one thing less to worry about tonight” as he marked a huge victory at the end of a committed campaign.