Marcus Rashford reveals Boris Johnson has promised to fix ‘unacceptable’ free school meals in private phone call

Will Taylor
Boris Johnson has described free school meals offered this week as "unacceptable", Marcus Rashford has said. (PA/@MarcusRashford)
Boris Johnson has described free school meals offered this week as "unacceptable", Marcus Rashford has said. (PA/@MarcusRashford)

Boris Johnson has described the free school meals sent to families as “unacceptable” in a phone call to England footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford.

Social media users expressed outrage on Tuesday after photos of food hampers with offerings described as “woefully inadequate” and “meagre” were posted on Twitter.

The Manchester United forward tweeted on Wednesday morning that the prime minister told him a “full review of the supply chain is taking place”.

Read more: Marcus Rashford 'overwhelmed' after PM's climbdown over free school meals

Johnson’s “unacceptable” comment echoes what his official spokesman said on Tuesday, as parents and campaigners posted a series of photos of free school meals.

They are sent to families for lunches as their children study at home.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branded them “woefully inadequate” while 23-year-old Rashford posted a photo and said it was “just not good enough”.

Meanwhile, children’s minister Vicky Ford said the photos “do not reflect the high standard of free school meals we expect to be sent to children” and that the CEO of Chartwells, one of the suppliers, had apologised.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said he was “absolutely disgusted” by the parcels.

He told the House of Commons Education Committee: said: “As a dad myself, I just thought ‘How can a family in receipt of that really be expected to deliver five nutritious meals as required?’

“It is just not acceptable. It has being made absolutely clear to Chartwells and to the whole sector that that sort of behaviour is just not right, it will not be tolerated we will not live with that.

“There are clear standards as a sector that they need to deliver against, and if they do not deliver against them, actions will have to be taken.”

In a statement reacting to one photo yesterday, Chartwells said that “in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance”.

“Our ten-day hampers typically include a wide variety of nutritious food items to support the provision of lunches for children.”

Some pictures posted online are said to be provided by other suppliers.

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