Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford continues his crusade against child malnutrition by joining with some of the UK’s best-known chefs. They are calling on the government to provide good-quality meals for children of school-going age.
Rashford - who has been leading the charge against child food poverty since the beginning of the pandemic last year - has signed a letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Tom Kerridge, asking him to "fix" the system long-term.
The England striker forced the government to pull back on its plans to end free school meals during half-term last year, and he has continued to highlight the need for good nutrition for children across society. The government has again indicated that food will be provided to children by councils under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme while schools are closed for the February half-term holiday. Councils and unions say the government should provide food vouchers instead.
It comes after public outrage over images of food parcels provided to hungry students, which were supposedly worth £30, but instead were estimated to be closer to £5.30. In some cases, vegetables such as carrots and onions appeared to be divided between students.
The letter called for an "urgent comprehensive review into free school meal policy across the UK" and urged the government to examine the threshold for being eligible for free school meals. It also demanded a review of funding, how schools can be helped to provide the best quality meals, the impact of Covid on children in low-income families, and making sure there is no stigma associated with the issue.
The UK government has previously declared that "no child will ever go hungry" because of the Covid pandemic. Rashford and this group of chefs are ensuring that they live up to that promise and look to lay the groundwork for better food for UK children going forward.