| Last updated
Over 2,000 doctors have demanded that the government extend free school meals during the holidays.
Paediatricians across the country have each signed an open letter, urging Boris Johnson to U-turn on his decision not to extend the meals to vulnerable children, following England footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign to end child poverty.
Compiled by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the letter condemns the government's decision, explaining: "Every day, we see the impact of hunger and malnutrition in our work as paediatricians. It is not unusual for us to care for children who don't have enough to eat or who don't have access to a substantial meal outside of what is provided in school.
"We call on the UK government to match the pledges of the Welsh and Scottish governments and the Northern Ireland Executive, to continue to provide children from low-income backgrounds with free meals over the coming weeks and to then extend this at least until the Easter school holiday."
The letter also praises Marcus Rashford, who has been leading the campaign throughout the pandemic. An online petition created by the footballer, 22, has reached nearly 900,000 signatures.
Childhood hunger is an issue that should transcend politics. Few would disagree that one of our most basic human responsibilities is to ensure children have enough to eat.
- RCPCH (@RCPCHtweets) October 24, 2020
It explains: "With the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, I am calling for Government to allocate money to: Expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit .
"Provide meals & activities during all holidays.
"Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme. These 3 recommendations must be implemented without delay to #endchildfoodpoverty."
Back in June, Marcus' campaigning resulted in the government extending free school meals over the summer holidays.
It comes as thousands of businesses across the country have pledged to support vulnerable children during the half term holidays, offering free meals to those who need them.
Regarding this, a Number 10 spokesman said: "I believe the PM said during PMQs that free school meals will continue during term time and that he wants to continue to support families throughout the crisis so they have cash available to feed kids if they need to."
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read