LIVERPOOL, Southwark and a handful of other local councils have announced they will give out free school meals over the holidays even though the Government refuses to foot the bill.
Tens of thousands of kids won’t go hungry over the holidays after a massive push from footballer Marcus Rashford to end child hunger.
Liverpool council said this morning they would provide free schools to stop 20,000 local kids going hungry over the holiday.
Mayor Joe Anderson said this morning: “We’ve all seen Marcus Rashford’s campaign and I and my colleagues have all been really worried about kids going hungry in this city.
“As you can read in the (Liverpool Echo newspaper), in some parts of Liverpool, 70% of children are living in poverty right now.
“So today I am announcing that the council will stand by these kids and extend our own voucher scheme to make sure that 20,000 children will get the food they desperately need over the holiday.
“Times are tough for this council and we have been hit hard, but we will never lose sight of how hard things are for people who are trying to make ends meet in this city and I’m proud to announce this support today.”
The London councils of Redbridge, Southwark and Hammersmith and Fulham also said they would provide free school meal vouchers over half-term.
The vouchers are worth £15 per child.
A motion to extend the free school meal voucher scheme was voted down in the House of Commons earlier this week, with Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith claiming it would amount to “nationalising children”.
Downing Street has said they are putting extra cash into Universal Credit and other benefits to stop families falling into poverty, rather than extending the free school meals.
But the Man Utd and England striker hasn’t given in on his campaign, and took it upon himself to share a number of cafes and restaurants offering free meals for school children over the half-term.
The children’s meal champion began tweeting the details of more than 20 locations across Britain last night and continued to list them on his account this morning.
They include Bolton, Liverpool, Wirral, Sheffield, Wigan, Bristol and Devon, Whitley Bay, Staffordshire, Nottingham, Stevenage, Teesdale , Anglesey, Whitehaven, Watford and County Durham.
Marcus also let parents know which councils are offering free meal vouchers in a generous bid to help parents out.
One location shared by the footie ace, Mumtaz Leeds, had tweeted: “This is NOT about politics. This is about doing our part to help.”
Berry’s Tearoom in Cumbria had written: “It’s half term next week and I know a lot of families are struggling. We are offering a packed lunch to anyone who needs it for their children.”
Twitter users were quick to show their support with many sharing locations offering free food near them.
One person wrote: “We are all behind you every step.”
Another added: “The things you try and do for children is incredible… Really are class for what you try and do.”
Yesterday, Marcus Rashford helped out at FareShare in Manchester – a charity aimed at relieving food poverty across the UK which the footballer has already raised £20million for.
It came after he said kids were made to feel like they “don’t matter,” after he lost his bid to get the nation’s most vulnerable youngsters free school meals this winter.
MPs rejected a Labour motion to extend free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021 by 322 votes to 261, majority 61.
Marcus shared a lengthy message on Twitter after the vote, pleading with the Government to resume talks on the matter.
“A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter,” he said.
“We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity.”
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He called on No10 to “sit around the table” again to come up with a new plan, adding: “I don’t have the education of a politician – many on Twitter have made that clear today – but I have a social education having lived through this.”
He finished the post by writing: “These children are the future of this country. They are not just another statistic.
“And for as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine. You have my word on that.”