The UK government has given its consent to a vocal campaign by Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, promising to give free meals to poorer children over the coronavirus-afflicted Christmas holidays and beyond.
The UK government dropped its opposition disposition and extended the scheme over the festive period, as announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he called Rashford to brief the football star on his new spending commitment.
The 23-year-old striker received the call after he played in Manchester United’s 3-1 Premier League win over Everton.
In recognition of his widely praised campaign, Rashford was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Queen Elizabeth II’s latest honours list last month, and he sports the title proudly on his Twitter feed.
The economic fallout from the virus outbreak is pushing more British families into poverty, leaving many unable to afford essentials such as food and heating.
Poorer children are guaranteed free meals during school term-time, but not in the holidays. The government had resisted giving out meal vouchers to tide their families over, preferring to offer support via its wider benefits system.
But Rashford’s campaign has struck a chord with many, especially with Christmas coming up, and the government has been confronted with regular headlines accusing it of being heartless.