The British government on Tuesday bowed to demands by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to change its policy on free school meals for the poorest children, amid growing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on low-income families.
The England international drew on his own experience of growing up in poverty to lead an impassioned campaign for the programme to be extended through the summer holidays. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had initially resisted making the change, which would see 1.3 million children in England receive vouchers for an extra six weeks.
But as the story dominated the headlines and opposition MPs and members of his own Conservative party came out behind Rashford, he gave in. “Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer,” his spokesman said.
“To reflect this we will be providing a Covid summer food fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.”
Rashford, 22, responded on Twitter: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together. This is England in 2020.”
The striker had written to Johnson and MPs and on Tuesday wrote in The Times newspaper…