Campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford has said that child food poverty in the UK is getting “devastatingly” worse
Marcus Rashford, the England forward, aged 23, has called upon people to write to their MP in a bid to end a “child hunger pandemic”.
As a Food Foundation survey, he has spoken out that 15% of 6,490 households have experienced insecurity about the nation’s food in the past six months.
Data has shown that this was 27% higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, when Marcus Rashford had begun his hunger campaign.
The UK government has been asked to comment on the matter.
This comes after Boris Johnson is facing disputes with members of his own party over his plans to raise national insurance contributions (NI) of 25 million workers in the UK to raise £10bn to pay for social care for the elderly.
The striker for Manchester United has said: “While we’ve come a long way in the last 20 months, placing the issue of child food poverty at the forefront, devastatingly, the issue is getting worse not better.
“The entire nation got behind the national team this summer so let’s put these figures in football terms: You can fill 27 Wembley stadiums with the 2.5 million children that are struggling to know where their next meal might be coming from today.
“What is it going to take for these children to be prioritised?
“Instead of removing support through social security, we should be focusing efforts on developing a sustainable long-term road map out of this child hunger pandemic.”
Rashford is supporting the three recommendations as part of businessman Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy, which sets to guarantee that every child at risk of going hungry in the UK gets some good food every single day:
- Expand free school meal eligibility to all UK children aged 7-18 in all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits, and to children who are undocumented or living in immigrant households with “no recourse to public funds”
- Provide long-term funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme
- Expand the Healthy Start eligibility to all households with pregnant women or children under five earning £20,000
This comes after industries from pig farming, to fast food restaurants have said that the lack of skilled staff members is disrupting their business. The CBI have said that the staff shortages would harm the UK’s economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
The player, who has told of his own impoverished childhood in Wythenshawe, Manchester, is calling on the government to support the plans.
Last year he waged a high-profile campaign to persuade ministers to provide free meals to vulnerable children throughout the school holidays during the pandemic, forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson into a U-turn.
Executive director of The Food Foundation, Anna Taylor, said: “This will only get worse if left unaddressed and entrench inequalities deeper.”