Marcus Rashford petition to end child poverty surpasses 250,000 signatures

Marcus Rashford's petition urging the Government to act to end child poverty has surpassed 250,000 signatures, just two days after it was launched.

The parliamentary petition calls for food to be provided during all holidays and for free school meals to be expanded to all households on Universal Credit.

By 1.30pm on Saturday it had been signed by some 250,050 people.

It comes as Labour called on the Government to provide free school meals during the holidays until the spring.

Calling on more people to sign the petition, England and Manchester United striker Rashford, 22, said: "Let's prove to these 1.5 million vulnerable children that being British is something to be proud of."

The Welsh Government will provide free school meals during the holidays until Easter next year.

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

A Number 10 spokesman said: "It's not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays."

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said "now is the time to act" as she warned more than a million children could be left hungry over the school holidays due to the impact of the pandemic.

The party is giving the Government 72 hours to extend the provision of free school meals during the holidays or it will force a vote by MPs.

Ms Green said: "Millions of families face the prospect of losing their livelihoods because the Government has lost control of the virus.

"Its sink-or-swim plans for support could leave more than one million children at risk of going hungry over the school holidays."

23 PHOTOS
Marcus Rashford
See Gallery
Marcus Rashford
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

Rashford, who has been made an MBE for his services to vulnerable children, forced a Government U-turn on free school meal vouchers for eligible pupils over the summer holidays.

The Manchester United striker has since formed a child food poverty task force which has linked up with some of the UK's biggest supermarkets and food brands.

He said: "Right now, a generation who have already been penalised during this pandemic with lack of access to educational resources are now back in school struggling to concentrate due to worry and the sound of their rumbling stomachs.

"Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgment, food poverty is never the child's fault. Let's protect our young. Let's wrap arms around each other and stand together to say that this is unacceptable, that we are united in protecting our children."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS