Number 10 rejects calls from Rashford to provide meals during school holidays

Number 10 has rejected calls from Marcus Rashford to provide free school meals to children during all school holidays to end food poverty.

It comes after the Manchester United and England striker launched a petition urging the Government to go further in tackling child hunger.

The petition – which has been signed by more than 75,000 people – calls for food to be provided during all holidays and it says free school meals should be expanded to all households on Universal Credit.

25 PHOTOS
Marcus Rashford
See Gallery
Marcus Rashford
Manchester United's English Forward Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League Group H first-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on October 20, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United's English Forward Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League Group H first-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on October 20, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
(R - L) Manchester United's Michael Carrickm Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and Marcus Rojo celebrates with the trophy during the Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
England's Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney during the training session at the Stade du Bourgognes, Chantilly, France.
L-R: England's Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose and Marcus Rashford board the plane at Luton Airport.
England's Marcus Rashford (left) and Jesse Lingard during a walkaround at Stadion Stozice, Ljubliana.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) watches from the touchline as Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini (right) and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford prepare to come on
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford scores his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final, first leg match, at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos, Vigo.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the final whistle during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (front) and Jesse Lingard celebrate winning the UEFA Europa league after the final whistle
(left to right) Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Stormzy and Marcus Rashford attend a gala dinner at Old Trafford in Manchester, held by Manchester United and Unicef to raise funds for the charity.
England's Marcus Rashford (left) shakes hands with manager Gareth Southgate after the Bobby Moore Fund International match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford lies in pain after picking up a back injury during the FA Cup third round replay match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez is substituted for team mate Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
England's Marcus Rashford (left) and Costa Rica's Celso Borges battle for the ball during the International Friendly match at Elland Road, Leeds.
England's Marcus Rashford appears dejected after the final whistle during the FIFA World Cup, Semi Final match at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.
Burnley's Phillip Bardsley (left) and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford clash during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.
A young Manchester United fan holds up a sign for Manchester United's Marcus Rashford in the stands
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United after scoring the 2-1 during the match between Valencia CF vs Manchester United of UEFA Champions League, Group Stage, group H, date 6, 2018-2019 season. Mestalla Stadium. Valencia, Spain - 12 DIC 2018. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at the Parc des Princes, Paris, France.
England's Marcus Rashford (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the Nations League Semi Final at Estadio D. Alfonso Henriques, Guimaraes.
England manager Gareth Southgate (left) and Marcus Rashford during a press conference at Wembley Stadium, London.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford scores his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Welsh Government has decided to provide free school meals during the school holidays until Easter next year.

But Downing Street indicated on Thursday that ministers would not provide free school meals to children in England during the Christmas break.

A No 10 spokesman said: "We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We're in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils.

"It's not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays.

"We believe the best way to support families outside of term time is through Universal Credit rather than Government subsidising meals."

Rashford, who forced a Government U-turn on free school meal vouchers for eligible pupils over the summer holidays, has hit back at the comments.

The footballer, who has just been made an MBE for his services to vulnerable children, said: "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..."

Senior Tory MP Rob Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee, said on Twitter: "This is very disappointing from @BorisJohnson @10DowningStreet.

"We need a long-term plan to combat child food hunger, especially given 32% of families have had a drop in income since March."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS