LONDON (AP) – The UK government has suddenly put up a different face and is now saying it will provide free meals to disadvantaged children in the UK during the upcoming holidays following an anti- Extremely popular hunger for children by soccer star Marcus Rashford.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson phoned Manchester United’s 23-year-old striker after his team’s Premier League win over Everton on Saturday to inform him of the government’s decision to spend £ 170m (220million) dollars) additional funding to support families in need next year.
“After today̵7;s game, I had a pleasant conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat food poverty. children in England, ”said Rashford. His petition for the Conservative government to pay for free school meals for disadvantaged students during the holidays has garnered more than 1 million signatures.
The money will be given to the local government in December to timely support families over Christmas, many of whom are in financial trouble due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rashford, who spoke eloquently about his childhood experiences of relying on free school lunch and food banking, said the steps taken will improve the lives of nearly 1.7 million children in UK for the next 12 months, “and that can only be celebrated.”
Rashford said he was “very proud” of those who supported the campaign against child hunger and he was “overwhelmed by overwhelming empathy and understanding”.
This is the second time this year that Rashford has forced the government to change its policy. In June, it agreed to continue sponsoring meals for poor students over the summer break after initially protested.
The new funds will pay the COVID Winter Grant Program to support Christmas families while the Holiday Food and Activities Program will be expanded to cover Easter, summer and Christmas. born in 2021.
As part of the package, Healthy Start payments, which help expectant mothers and low-income people with young children buy fresh fruit and vegetables, will increase from 3.10 pounds to 4.25 pounds (3 , $ 61 to $ 4.94) a week from April 2021.
“We want to make sure vulnerable people feel cared for during these difficult times and above all, no one is hungry or unable to pay their bills this winter,” said Minister of Work and Salary said retired Therese Coffey.
The new money comes a month after the Conservative government disapproved of an opposition Labor Party’s proposal to extend free school meals.
Labor education spokesperson Kate Green accused the government of “incompetent and impatient” for waiting until after the October school break to make the announcement and create “no difficulty. necessary and avoidable for families across the country ”.
Businesses and local government stepped in after the government failed to pay for free school meals in October.
Britain’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, welcomed the government’s announcement on Sunday but urged it to “go further” with welfare payments.
“Hunger doesn’t happen when schools are closed, and a permanent solution to the growing number of poor children is imperative,” she said.
Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation thinktank, also welcomed the government’s change, saying it was a “big win” for children in need. However, she said the government needs to help another 1.7 million poor students who miss out on free school lunches because qualifying incomes are set too low.
“Children’s food poverty, like a pandemic, will not go away until we have a permanent solution,” she said.
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