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Marcus Rashford leads new child poverty task force

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Manchester United and England football player is leading a task force on the issue of child food poverty, following his successful campaign for free school meal vouchers to continue over the summer holidays.

Rashford has formed the Child Food Poverty Task Force with Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg’s, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Over the next six weeks, the task force members will dedicate their platforms to sharing stories of those most affected by child food insecurity in the UK. Rashford has previously spoken about his own experience of using a food voucher scheme as a child.

National Food Strategy policy recommendations

Rashford, 22, said the task force is endorsing three National Food Strategy policy recommendations.

Firstly, the footballer is calling for the expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent. This will reach an additional 1.5 million seven to 16-year-olds.

He is also calling for the expansion of holiday provision of food and activities to support all children on free school meals, reaching an extra 1.1 million children.

The third recommendation is increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 per week, and expanding into all those on Universal Credit or equivalent. This would reach an additional 290,000 pregnant women and children under the age of four.

In a letter to MPs, Rashford wrote: “Mothers and fathers are raising respectful, eloquent young men and women, who, in reality, are part of a system that will not allow them the opportunity to win and succeed. Add school closures, redundancies and furloughs into the equation and we have an issue that could negatively impact generations to come. It all starts with stability around access to food.”

The striker, who is working in partnership with FareShare and the Food Foundation, said in his letter that the progress made by his previous victory on free school meals “was only ever going to support this issue in the short-term”.

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