Marcus Rashford expressed his delight following the news that Boris Johnson has performed a U-turn on the plan to end free school meal vouchers for the summer, with the footballer claiming “just look what we can do when we come together” after leading the campaign to help vulnerable children.
The Manchester United and England forward launched a passionate campaign on Monday morning calling for the government to reverse their decision to end the scheme for the summer holidays.
With 1.3m children dependent on free school dinners, Rashford wanted to not just raise awareness of those families who were at risk of going hungry in the coming months, but do something that would result in action being taken.
The 22-year-old therefore decided to write to the government, and called on every MP to back the calls for the meal voucher scheme to be extended through the summer due to the financial crisis that has been brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Rashford also called on those who agreed with his message to personally tag their local MP on Twitter in calling for a rethink.
Rashford’s plea was initially met with an unmoved response from No 10, with a spokesman for the prime minister saying that they would not extend the scheme into the summer holidays.
But on Tuesday Johnson performed a U-turn on the decision due to the growing pressure, with all pupils qualifying for free school meals in England to be given supermarket food vouchers to cover the six-week summer holiday.
The announcement sees Johnson agree to a £120m government U-turn, with Rashford’s campaign drawing support from a number of prominent figures from both in and outside sport.
Rashford quickly posted a message on Twitter to express his delight with the news, which he admitted was hard to comprehend.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Rashford wrote on Twitter. “Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”
Rashford’s campaign was backed by Labour leader Keir Starmer on Tuesday morning, while former England captain Gary Lineker was one of many high-profile sport stars to throw their weight behind the campaign.