THE UK government is set to give extra support to struggling families following an extraordinary climbdown after resisting calls by footballer Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals to disadvantaged children.
Britain’s government initiative will help prevent families from going hungry or without essential items this winter, with the work and pensions department stating it would provide a new £170 million (€143 million) Winter Grant scheme to local councils.
The large sum will have at least 80% earmarked for support with food and bills until the end of March, among other provisions, after coming under pressure to help those on low incomes to feed their children, especially after more people have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The u-turn comes after parliament, where the governing Conservatives have a majority, voted against extending free school meal vouchers last month, an initiative spearheaded by Manchester United forward, Marcus Rashford.
Rashford, who spoke to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday, November 7, said the move would improve the lives of almost 1.7 million children, but added that “there is still much to do”.
In a statement, Work and Pensions Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, said: “We want to make sure vulnerable people feel cared for throughout this difficult time and, above all, no one should go hungry or be unable to pay their bills this winter.”
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