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Marcus Rashford calls on government to extend food voucher scheme

England v Montenegro – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group A – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Marcus Rashford has called on the government to reconsider its decision not to extend the current food voucher scheme into the summer holidays.

The scheme was set up to effectively guarantee meals to those children who would have ordinarily been reliant on free school meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

But Mancheter United and England forward Rashford, who raised £20million to boost food distribution with the charity FareShare, is concerned the plan to end the scheme next month will affect some of the most vulnerable in society.

In an open letter to the government, Rashford wrote: “The Government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy – I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England.

“I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.

“This is England in 2020, and this is an issue that needs urgent assistance.

“Please, while the eyes of the nation are on you, make the U-turn and make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority.”

Rashford has previously spoken about how his family relied on breakfast clubs and free school meals as a child, and does not want other children to miss out on opportunities if they do not have access to similar schemes.

He added: “As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic.

“Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.

“I would be doing myself, my family and my community an injustice if I didn’t stand here today with my voice and my platform and ask you for help.”