Marcus Rashford takes UK child poverty policy into his own hands

After Conservative Party lawmakers voted down a scheme to provide free meals for hungry school children over Christmas, England international footballer Marcus Rashford is forging a national coalition to fill the void.

Rashford had been pressuring the government to extend the school meal voucher scheme during the school break. He had called for the government to extend a scheme to provide 1.5 million children with food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021.

His campaigning led to a vote in the House of Commons — via a motion put forward by the opposition Labour party – but it was defeated 322 votes to 261 on Wednesday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was amongst those who voted against the proposal.

The Manchester United forward is now using his sizable social media following to promote businesses and councils who are offering free meals during the school break.

On Friday, Rashford retweeted dozens of offers around the country.

The Mayors of Liverpool and Greater Manchester both agreed to join the scheme early on Thursday.

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Thousands of children in the UK receive free school meals due to their low income, but there is growing concern that when school is finishes for the Christmas holidays, the meals will end and children may go hungry.

Rashford himself was a recipient of free school meals as a child. Earlier this year, the 22-year-old forced the UK government to reverse its decision to not extend free school meal vouchers throughout the summer holidays amid the pandemic.

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As a result, he was recently awarded an MBE for his work tackling food poverty. He also promised to keep up the fight and urged politicians to unite behind the effort.

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