Footballer Marcus Rashford has formed a taskforce today with some of the UK’s largest food brands in a bid to tackle child food poverty.
Named the Child Food Poverty Task Force, the 22-year-old forward for Manchester United wants the emergency coronavirus holiday meals scheme applied across all school breaks.
So far, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg’s, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – have all backed proposals from Mr Rashford and the National Food Strategy.
Child Food Poverty Task Force currently operates in 17 local authorities across the nation who are also urging for Healthy Start food vouchers to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week.
In a joint open letter to parliament, an independent review of UK food policy is suggested, including expansion of free school meals to children from households on universal credit.
Should this be approved, an additional 1.5 million youngsters aged 16 and under will benefit from this change.
Mr Rashford successfully campaigned for free school meals to be extended over the summer holidays due to the impact of coronavirus, helping 1.3 million people.
The England football player revealed he was inspired to take action on the issue after using a similar food voucher scheme as a child.
“I feel like at times people think they are being looked down on if they ask for help, and I think in this generation… that is something that should change,” he told the BBC.
“You should feel free if you want to ask for help…hold your head up high and, if you need help, go and get help.
“…we had to think about the best way to do it, to think about how these families can eat long term and not have issues. We wanted to do it the best way…introduce the best people into our group and see if using them (we) can push it even more.”
Another proposal included in the campaign is to expand holiday food and activities for all children on free school meals, helping an additional 1.1 million children
Mr Rashford said he is “confident” with the task force and hopes his letter to MPs and chancellor Rishi Sunak will review the Budget “without delay”.