Boris Johnson admits he only became aware of Marcus Rashford's free school meal campaign 'today'
Boris Johnson has admitted that only today - one day after the footballer wrote to MPs - did he become aware of Marcus Rashford's free school lunch.
The recording follows the government's U-turn - under pressure from Manchester United and English striker Rashford - when it announces a one-time £ 120m fund that will benefit 1.3million children in England during the six-week summer period.
Rashford had written to all MPs on Monday morning, asking them to get the government to reverse their decision not to issue free school meals coupons in the summer.
Rashford's letter and a subsequent interview on the BBC aroused great public interest.
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However, Johnson admitted at the Coronavirus press conference on Downing Street on Tuesday: "I spoke to Marcus Rashford today and congratulated him on his campaign, which, to be honest, I've only recently become aware of - today."
The Prime Minister had replied to a journalist's question whether he had "lost" contact with the public.
He continued, “Thank you for what you did. I think he is right to raise awareness of this issue and basically we have a large number of children who have been unable to return to school.
Boris Johnson said he had only just noticed Marcus Rashford's free school lunch today.
“I think it is right that we should now take care of families with the most vulnerable and needy people. That is why we have the COVID summer nutrition plan that we announced today and I hope it will make a big difference to these children and these families. "
The Food Foundation has estimated that a third of children who get free school meals during the coronavirus crisis had no adequate alternative options.
On Tuesday earlier, Johnson's official spokesman confirmed the about-face when he announced the "COVID Summer Food Fund" to reflect the fact that families are facing an "unprecedented situation" on vacation.
Payment is assumed to be made using a one-time, six-week voucher that is given to eligible families at the end of the term for use in supermarkets.
The program will not continue beyond this summer, Downing Street added.
Following the news, Rashford wrote in a statement to MPs: "It was never about me or you, it was never about politics, it was a call for help from vulnerable parents across the country, and I simply provided them with a platform Hearing voices.
Marcus Rashford (PA) from Manchester United
“Today I am proud to know that we listened and did the right thing.
"There is still a long way to go, but I am grateful to all of you that we have given these families just one less thing to worry about tonight."
The 22-year-old had previously partnered with FareShare and raised £ 20m to feed schoolchildren during the pandemic.
United and England star players Rashford is now a common favorite to win the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.
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