London, Oct 15 (efe-epa).- The British government has rejected a proposal from Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford to extend free meals for poor children during the school holidays.
The 22-year-old launched an online petition on Thursday urging the government to take action to end child poverty in the United Kingdom.
Rashford was recently awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable children after he successfully campaigned for them to receive food cheques during the summer vacations.
His latest proposal to expand the country’s free school meal program has been rejected by the government.
A government spokesman said: “We have taken substantial action to make sure children and their families do not go hungry, extending free school meals support when schools were closed, extending our welfare support by £9.3 billion and funding councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food.
“We are in a different position now schools are open – it’s not for schools to regularly provide food during the holidays.
“We think Universal Credit will provide what’s needed.”
Rashford responded on Twitter: “Merry Christmas kids… It’s also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are. 250% increase in food poverty and rising… This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I.”
The England international player forced UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reform his policies and extend food tokens for disadvantaged families over the summer while the country was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to politicians in June, he described his own childhood as the son of a single mother who earned minimum wage to feed him and his three siblings.