Simple life message from Marcus Rashford as MPs begin to debate child food poverty

Marcus Rashford called for help from those in need tonight as MPs braced for a debate on child food poverty sparked by the footballer.

The Manchester United and England star’s successful campaign against youth hunger forced the government to back down last year.

But when asked whether he would pursue a political career by hanging up his boots, the 23-year-old said: “I don’t know anything about politics.

Still, the big-hearted striker revealed his moral compass, telling Channel 4: “In life, there is the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do – and to me, it’s that simple. .

“If someone needs help, if you can help them, you have to help them.”

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Marcus’ successful campaign forced government to turn around for free school meals

He was speaking as MPs debated a petition signed by more than 1.1 million people, calling for more help for hardened families.

Footballer-led activists want three key components of the national food strategy to be put into effect.

The petition that sparked tonight’s debate in Westminster Hall read: ‘The government should support vulnerable children and #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to free school meals , provide meals and activities during the holidays to stop holiday hunger and increase the value and expand the Healthy Start program. “

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The debate on <a class=child poverty and hunger at Westminster Hall” content=””/>
The debate on child poverty and hunger at Westminster Hall

Supported by the Child Food Poverty Task Force, the petition called for money to expand free school meals to everyone under 16 when a parent or guardian receives universal credit or equivalent benefit, provides meals and activities during all school holidays, and increases the value of Healthy Start Vouchers to at least £ 4.25 per week and expand the program.

As politicians argued for 90 minutes in parliament, a frustrated Marcus urged MPs to continue helping children.

He tweeted: “It is confusing that we are debating the implementation of the conclusions commissioned by the government. Gov did the research. Gov gathered the data.

Catherine Mckinnnell MP opens debate on petition to end <a class=child poverty at Westminster Hall” content=””/>
Catherine Mckinnnell MP opens debate on petition to end child poverty at Westminster Hall

“And solutions were formed from that (NFS). I approved them… so what to debate? Let’s discuss the results and discuss the solutions. “

Supporters of the plan believe that adopting the three recommendations will help alleviate the plight of 4.3 million UK children living in relative poverty, defined as less than 60% of average household income.

The Mirror recounted how demand for food banks exploded by a third in the 12 months leading up to April, as Trussell Trust centers distributed nearly 23 million meals.

Marcus and his mother help FareShare Greater Manchester at New Smithfield Market
Marcus and his mother help FareShare Greater Manchester at New Smithfield Market

The charity’s outlets distributed 2,537,198 emergency packages – and with each package containing enough food for three meals a day for three days, that means the trust provided 22,834,782 meals.

Almost a million packages went to the children, meaning that 8,820,738 children’s meals were provided.

Labor MPs accused the Tories of fueling child poverty.

Coverage of the problem by the Mirror
Coverage of the problem by the Mirror

Shadow Minister Tulip Siddiq said, “More families than ever are relying on food banks to feed their children.

“This food poverty is the result of poverty itself, which has increased dramatically since 2010.

“The increasing levels of child poverty are a direct result of policy choices over the past decade.”

Grahame Morris of Labor said: “This is the defining question of our time.

“It is no coincidence that so many children have been pushed into poverty.

“It is the result of government policies.”

But Tory backbench MP Jerome Mayhew blamed family breakdown and drug use for some households mired in poverty – and urged parents to take responsibility for their children.

Marcus is doing his part
Marcus is doing his part

“As a parent myself, one of the main life lessons I try to teach my own children is that of personal responsibility,” he said.

“The reasons for hunger in children are complex and it will hamper our ability to properly address these causes if we choose for political or campaign reasons to oversimplify them.

“They include unemployment, a sudden change in family income, chaotic finances, drug addiction, limited access to good quality food stores, poor food education, broken relationships and low pay in the job. . “

Education Minister Vicky Ford said the government has increased the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £ 4.25 per week and is offering holiday activities and free school meals outside of terms this year .

“This government is determined to support these children and families, especially the most vulnerable, and the government is taking full account of all the recommendations of the national food strategy,” she said.

“We will respond more fully after the next and final report due this summer.”

MPs have also called for a £ 20 per week increase in universal credit, which increases the incomes of six million families by £ 1,040 per year, to be extended.

It was introduced at the start of the pandemic but is expected to be phased out from September.

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