MARCUS Rashford has vowed “we can changed the future” ahead of a crunch House of Commons vote today on free school meals.
The footballer warned ministers this morning: “This is not going away and neither am I.”
He released a powerful video on Instagram, saying “if we do it right, we can change what the future looks like”.
The England player said: “There’s a lot of children that simply aren’t eating.
“I know first hand what hunger can lead to so I think enough is enough.”
It comes after he set up a petition demanding the Government take action to end child poverty. In just two days it had got 250,000 signatures.
He has lobbied for food to be provided during all holidays and for free school meals to be provided to all families and households on Universal Credit.
The 22-year-old tweeted today: “Paying close attention to the Commons today and to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of our most vulnerable children, 2.2m of them who currently qualify for Free School Meals.”
The vote today calls for free school meals to be extended over each school holiday from October half-term to Easter 2021.
Rashford’s petition comes in reaction to Downing Street saying kids won’t get free school meals over the half-term break and Christmas holidays.
During lockdown, the England star put massive pressure on Boris Johnson to help kids entitled to free school meals get vouchers worth £15 every week of half-term and the summer holidays.
And Mr Rashford has been behind a fresh push to extend the vouchers for hungry kids during the October half-term and the Christmas holiday.
But a Downing Street spokesperson said: “We are in a different position now.
“It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays.”
Mr Rashford slammed Downing Street’s rejection on Twitter, saying: “Merry Christmas kids…
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “This vote is about our values as a country and whether the Government, in the middle of this crisis, is happy to let our children go hungry.
“Millions of families up and down the country are facing a bleak winter of real hardship as the furlough scheme is withdrawn and further restrictions are put in place without proper support for businesses, jobs and livelihoods.”
“No child in our country should be waking up hungry and having to face the day worrying where food might be coming from.”
Mr Rashford, who has been made an MBE for his services to vulnerable children, turned the blowtorch on the Government by urging his 3.4 million Twitter followers to lobby their MPs ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
Senior Conservative MP Robert Halfon has called on the Government to extend free school meals during the school holidays while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
He said: “What the Government needs to do is to have a long-term plan, sit down with the taskforce set up by Marcus Rashford and actually come up with a serious plan and a budget to deal with this problem.
“All the statistics show that families are struggling. We know that 10% of families are affected by food insecurity.”