The Government has rejected calls from Marcus Rashford to extend the free school meals scheme to include half-term and Christmas holidays.
The Manchester United and England forward launched an online petition on Thursday urging the Government to make three commitments to support vulnerable children as part of the #endchildfoodpoverty campaign.
The campaign is supported by the Child Food Poverty Task Force, which was formed by Rashford, as well as a further 20 charities and key names in the food industry.
Rashford, who has been awarded an MBE for his work in tackling child poverty, forced a Government U-turn in July when he won his battle to ensure the provision of free meals during the school summer holidays.
But the latest proposal appears to have fallen on deaf ears, with the Government confirming later on Thursday that they have no plans to offer further direct support.
“We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic, when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We are in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils,” said a Government spokesperson.
“It’s not for schools to provide food to pupils during school holidays. We believe the best way to support families outside of term times is through Universal Credit, rather than schools subsidising meals.”
In response, Rashford tweeted:
“Merry Christmas kids… It’s also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are. 250% increase in food poverty and rising… This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I…”