Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford is encouraging people to write to their local MP about supporting recommendations to end the “child hunger pandemic”.
The three recommendations that the footballer is supporting as part of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy aim to guarantee that every child at risk of going hungry gets good food every day.
What are the three recommendations?
The first recommendation is 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” (NRPF).
The second is to provide long-term funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, increasing eligibility in line with free school meal expansion.
The third recommendation plans to expand Healthy Start eligibility to all households with pregnant women or children under five earning £20,000 or less after benefits, as well as investing in a communications campaign to increase uptake of the scheme which provides free vouchers to buy milk, fruit and vegetables.
Rashford is now calling on the Government to urgently support the three recommendations and include the funds needed for them in the Spending Review.
The footballer said: “Whilst we’ve come a long way in the last 20 months, placing the issue of child food poverty at the forefront, devastatingly, the issue is getting worse not better.
“The entire nation got behind the national team this summer so let’s put these figures in football terms: You can fill 27 Wembley stadiums with the 2.5 million children that are struggling to know where their next meal might be coming from today.
“What is it going to take for these children to be prioritised? Instead of removing support through social security, we should be focusing efforts on developing a sustainable long-term road map out of this child hunger pandemic.
“I am, today, pledging my support for three recommendations from Part 2 of the National Food Strategy.
“I hope that we see the required investment pledged during the Autumn Spending Review.
“I will be writing to my MP about it, and I would encourage you all to do the same.
“It will take many of us to stand together on this, and show we care about reaching those most in need in our communities.”