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Government U-turns in order to provide free school meal vouchers over the summer

Government U-turns in order to provide free school meal vouchers over the summer

The UK Government is setting up a "Covid Summer Food Fund" to help feed children during the summer holidays, it has been announced.

The announcement of the fund comes after Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford called for a U-turn in plans not to offer meal vouchers during the holidays.

The government would usually provide free school meals for some pupils during term time and had introduced a national voucher scheme for these students during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic when schools have been closed. However, the government had originally said the scheme would not be extended for the summer holidays.

Mr Rashford has spent recent days urging politicians to ensure pupils can continue to access the voucher scheme during the summer, building a significant campaign through social media. In an open letter to MPs and in recent media interviews, the footballer has described his own experience of relying on free school meals.

Through the fund announced on Tuesday, children eligible for free school meals in term time in England will get a six-week voucher to use in the summer, Downing Street has said. 

Following the news on Tuesday lunchtime, Mr Rashford 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."

'Congratulations Marcus' started trending on Twitter following the news. 

Speaking during the Coronavirus Daily Briefing from Downing Street on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the 22-year-old striker and said he had congratulated him earlier in the day on his campaign.

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