The Government’s decision not to extend free school meals over the half term period could not have come at a worse time, as the Food Foundation Thinktank records a huge spike in the number of new sign ons to the scheme. With free school meals already being provided to 1.4 million children, an added 900,000 have now become eligible to the scheme, this surge thought to be related in part to the fall out of COVID 19 and the raging unemployment seizing the U.K.
Defending his position Boris Johnson spoke to a BBC correspondent, stating in spite of his government’s withdrawal of support “we don’t want to see children going hungry”. A hugely contradictory statement in light of the Tory government’s refusal to support Britain’s poorest families over the holiday period. The recent MBE awarded footballer Marcus Rashford has become Britain’s beacon of light this year, his own reliance on free school meals as a child, spurring him on to create a national effort for those most in need.
Posting his letter to his local MP on Twitter Rashford wrote “food poverty in England is a pandemic that could span generations if we don’t course correct now”. Rashford compounded his desire for real and tangible change with a petition to end child poverty, that has since reached 1,097,796 signatures and encouraged local businesses, companies, and charities up and down the country to do their part to make sure no children go hungry over the government’s resolution. Amongst small businesses include global chains such as, Pret A Manger, Tesco, and Co-op. In the wake of the government’s failure to grapple with the poverty that 4 million children in the U.K now live in, the nation has rallied together to do the job the Tories so adamantly refuse to do.
By Lauren Gee