Marcus Rashford challenges government over child food poverty with launch of new task force

PUBLISHED: 09:31 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:42 01 September 2020

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photograph: Peter Powell/NMC Pool.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photograph: Peter Powell/NMC Pool.

PA Wire/PA Images

Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford has launched a new task force to challenge the government on the issue of child food poverty.

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Rashford, who in June successfully campaigned for free school meal vouchers to be provided to pupils over the summer, has now teamed up with the food industry to shed light on the issue of child food poverty in the UK.

In a letter to MPs, the 22-year-old said the objective was to “see sufficient funds from the chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review allocated to implementing these without delay”.


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Rashford said the task force was endorsing three national food strategy policy recommendations, which he outlined in a video on Twitter alongside the words: “For the millions who don’t have the platform to be heard…”

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He said that he was “humbled to stand side by side” with Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg’s, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose in the ‘Child Food Poverty Task Force’.

Its first recommendation is the expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 1.5 million seven-to-16-year-olds; the second is the expansion of holiday provision (food and activities) to support all children on free school meals, reaching an additional 1.1 million children; and the third is 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.

Former England captain Gary Lineker was quick to praise Rashford for his latest mission.

The Match of the Day host posted on Twitter: “What an impressive and inspirational man @MarcusRashford is. Wonderful to see a young footballer use his platform so positively to make a real difference to the lives of so many. Well played.”

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