The Prime Minister has congratulated Marcus Rashford after he successfully campaigned for the government to extend its free school meal voucher scheme over the summer holidays.
Food vouchers – for £15 a week – will be made available to around 1.3m children in England who are currently eligible for the scheme, and will last for six weeks in what has been called a “Covid Summer Food Fund”.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing in Downing Street, Boris Johnson said: “I talked to Marcus Rashford today and congratulated him on his campaign which to be honest I only became aware of very recently, today – and I thank him for what he’s done.
“I think he is right to draw attention to this issue.”
The Department for Education had initially said it would not extend the voucher scheme despite an emotional letter to MPs written by Rashford, in which he said “the system isn’t built for families like mine to succeed”.
But the government has changed tact after Manchester United striker Rashford kept up his campaign.
Responding to the news, the 22-year-old tweeted:
“I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”
He later posted a longer tweet directed at MPs which read:
“This was never about me or you, this was never about politics, this was a cry out for help from vulnerable parents all over the country and I simply provided a platform for their voices to be heard.
“I stand proud today knowing that we have listened, and we have done what is right. There is still a long way to go but I am thankful to you all that we have given these families just one less thing to worry about tonight.
“The wellbeing of our children should ALWAYS be a priority.”