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Marcus Rashford leads campaign to end child poverty

Marcus Rashford has continued in his efforts to end child poverty across the UK, by uniting major supermarkets and food retailers to spearhead the task force.

The 22-year old Manchester United striker has already fiercely campaigned for children and families who face financial difficulties, through forcing the government into a U-turn to provide free school meals into the summer holidays.

Rashford has written to every Member of Parliament across the country, urging them to support the campaign and recommending revisions to a number of policies in regards to free school meals.

The letter also anecdotally refers to Rashford’s meeting with a mother whose two sons are living off of three slices of bread a day, soaking them in hot water and sugar to create a porridge-like consistency for her one-year old child.

The group of supermarkets, businesses and charities who have joined together as part of the campaign and will be collectively known as the “Child Food Poverty Task Force”, include Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg's, Lidl, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

The task force is appealing for three policy recommendations, which are: expanding free school meals to children who live in a household on Universal Credit, or equivalent, in order to reach an additional 1.5 million children, expanding the pre-existing school holiday food and activities programme to supporting children receiving free school meals and increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers, expanding these to include all those on Universal Credit or equivalent, which will reach an additional 290,000 people.

Additionally, the group have pledged to use their social media platforms to share stories of those children and families who go hungry when they cannot put food on the table so easily.

Earlier this year, a YouGov poll that was commissioned by the Food Foundation, indicated that 2.4 million children are living in a household where the provision of food is not guaranteed.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has expressed his delight at the young footballer for speaking up for children who live in these unsettled conditions, stating that he was “right to draw the nation’s attention” to the issue.

The letter added: "These children are the future – our next generation of NHS workers, police officers, footballers and politicians.

"Allow our children to believe that, regardless of the cycle, they can be anything they put their mind to.

"The topic of child food poverty will always be greeted with judgement, excuse and assumption but, at the end of the day, the only valid response we should be giving is, whatever the situation, it is NEVER the child’s fault."

Author: Jake Wilkin