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Local businesses, councils promise free school meals after Rashford campaign

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'I do not believe in nationalising children': MPs vote against extending free school meals scheme

Councillor Richard Henry, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: "This year has been particularly hard for everyone, and we know that these free meals could be the difference between some children being able to eat instead of going hungry".

Labour warned that this will leave thousands of families facing a double whammy as half term approaches, with incomes and jobs at risk due to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's new reduced coronavirus job-support measures and free school meals for kids removed.

As a child growing up in Greater Manchester, Rashford suffered from food insecurity.

While the British prime minister has faced accusations of fomenting divisions this week with his COVID-19 strategy, the Manchester United and England footballer - still a few days shy of his 23rd birthday - has demonstrated a remarkable gift for bringing people together.

Italian restaurant Belluno said it would be offering a complimentary lunchtime takeaway service for children who would otherwise not be able to afford a meal.

Cllr Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader, said: "This situation is unsustainable".

"We need a plan from the Government for the Christmas break".

Downing Street declined to praise such outlets offering to provide free meals for vulnerable children over half-term.

A Number 10 spokesman, asked repeatedly if Boris Johnson welcomed these offers, said: "As we have set out before, we are in a different position now with schools back open to all and the vast majority of pupils back to school".

And families needing food support in these hard Coronavirus times and already on the radar of Oldham Council's five District teams will be supported, notably in Failsworth and Royton.

The petition also says Healthy Start vouchers - given to eligible women who are pregnant or those with young children to buy basic foods - should be raised from £3.10 to £4.25 per week and made available to all those on Universal Credit or a similar benefit.

He said the requirements of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce remain the same, adding: "Following private and public approaches, I once again invite Number 10 to sit around the table with the taskforce so that, together, we can collaborate on how best to combat child poverty in the United Kingdom".

"As you can read in the ECHO, in some parts of Liverpool, 70 percent of children are living in poverty right now".

After the enormous response to his latest campaign, he tweeted: "Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term".

After Conservative Party lawmakers voted down a scheme to provide free meals for hungry school children over Christmas, England global footballer Marcus Rashford is forging a national coalition to fill the void. While campaigning earlier this year, the footballer said, "What families are going through now, I once had to go through that same system".

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