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Parents back Marcus Rashford’s bid for free school meals for ALL kids in need

Parents in Birmingham are backing footballer Marcus Rashford ‘s new campaign for a ‘sustainable long-term road map’ to help end child hunger in the UK.

More households with children aged 17 and under are experiencing food insecurity than in the first wave of the pandemic, according to new research from The Food Foundation.

A survey of 6,490 UK households found that 15 per cent have experienced food insecurity in the past six months – levels that are around 27 per cent higher than before the pandemic.

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The England and Manchester United player is asking people to write to their MPs and push the government to adopt three key recommendations from the National Food Strategy to try to guarantee that every child gets food each day.

The recommendations are:

  • To expand free school meal eligibility to all children aged 7-18 in all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits, and to children that are undocumented or living in immigrant households with ‘no recourse to public funds’
  • To provide long-term funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, increasing eligibility in line with free school meal expansion
  • To expand Healthy Start eligibility to all households with pregnant women or children under five earning £20,000 or less after benefits, and invest in a communications campaign to increase uptake of the scheme which provides free vouchers to buy milk, fruit and vegetables

Footballer Marcus Rashford has launched a new campaign for a ‘sustainable long-term road map’ to help end child hunger in the UK

Birmingham parents on our Brummie Mummies Facebook page have shown their support for Rashford’s campaign, which follows his successful bid last year to persuade the government to provide free meals to vulnerable youngsters in England throughout the school holidays during the Covid pandemic.

Carla Vry said: “It’s a firm yes for me. Children going hungry isn’t something I can align myself with.”

Louise Wright agreed: “I think it’s amazing , the thought of kids sitting in lessons hungry makes me so sad! No children should go without a proper hot meal everyday.”

Michelle Hindley added: “It should be treated the same as child benefit – anyone that receives child benefit should receive free school meals. I also think that every citizen in the UK, including unemployed, should pay £1 every month into a pot.

“There are over 68 million people in the UK- if everyone did that then that would be over £68 million in pot each month that could be used to help others e.g. free small interest free loans for those that are struggling, free activities for children and to provide small business loans for those starting up new businesses.”

Read moreInside a Birmingham school food bank

Some parents felt that the scheme should be extended to all children, including those with parents on higher incomes.

Kadra Hirsi said: “100 percent agreed. In fact it should be free for ALL children!”

Emma Rudd added: “I think every child should have free meals regardless if parents work. Working parents have to pay for everything. It should be the same for all children.”

Others felt that it was not a viable use of government spending.

Adele Taylor posted: “Maybe he should put his hand in his pocket and pay for it. I go to work to feed my child, not everyone else’s. Costs me £50 per month for school meals. Sorry not sorry.”

What do you think? Should all children in need be given free school meals? Are you affected by food poverty? Join the conversation on our Brummie Mummies Facebook page or email [email protected]

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