The Rewind

Boris Johnson Will Oppose Marcus Rashford's Plea To Feed Hungry Children

Boris Johnson Will Oppose Marcus Rashford's Plea To Feed Hungry Children

In  a move that has been described by the UK oppisition as "callous", Boris Johnson is set to reject a House of Commons motion to extend free meals to poor children outside of the school term and into the summer.

It comes a day after Manchester United's Marcus Rashford wrote a powerful, compelling letter to UK MPs, urging them to extend the food voucher scheme into the summer, and outlined his own struggles growing up, saying, "the system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of hard my mum worked."

Today, in a article in The Times, and again on Twitter, Rashford has doubled down in his pleas, begging for the government to forget politics the way footballers forget their rivalry aside when they put the England shirt on.


During the pandemic, Rashford has helped over £20 million to fill in where the British government refuses. Working with FairShare. The money has been used to deliver over three million meals to hungry children. In his Times arricle, Rashford describes the current fight as "a trophy that stands for something much bigger than football," describing the current game as forcing a government U-Turn on vouchers, and the trophy as "combating child poverty."

He also goes into further detail on his struggles in childhood.

I know what it feels like to be hungry. I’m well aware that at times my friends only invited me to eat at their houses for their parents’ reassurance that I was eating that evening. That was my community, the community that made the Marcus Rashford you see before you today asking for your help: an England international footballer. As I passed through Manchester city centre on the bus as a child and witnessed homelessness on every street corner, I swore that if one day I got in a position to help those people most in need then that is what I would do.

But it's all not enough to Boris Johnson, who says the money they have made available to local authorities should be enough, and his spokesperson has said he will "respond to Marcus Rashford's letter as soon as he can."


1.3 million children qualify for the UK's free meal scheme, though it's argued many more are struggling in poverty. The scheme usually only operates during school term, but was extended under a voucher scheme since schools closed, something the government were adamant would not continue over the summer break. To feed the children over the six-week summer break would cost £120 million. The furlough scheme run by the government during the pandemic is expected to cost £80 billion. As Rashford pointed out, they have a "'whatever it takes' approach to the ecomony," but seemingly refuse to extend that same force to feeding the citizens they represent.

UPDATE: Amazingly, the Johnson govermnment has bowed to public pressure and decided a U-turn on this policy. Marcus Rashford is changing his country. Incredible.


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Michael McCarthy

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