Marcus Rashford and celebrity chefs call for free school meals review

Marcus Rashford, along with some of the leading celebrity chefs and campaigners have called on the government to review its free school meals policy.

The group have written a letter to the government asking it to "fix" the system long-term and for a strategy to be in place to end child food poverty before the summer holidays.

The government has said food will be provided to children by councils under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme while schools are closed for the holiday. Councils and unions say the government should provide food vouchers instead.

Organised by the Food Foundation charity, the letter has been signed by Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Tom Kerridge, as well as actor Dame Emma Thompson and over 40 charities and education leaders.

They called for an urgent comprehensive review into free school meal policy across the UK, saying it should look at: the threshold for being eligible for free school meals; funding - including whether the current allowance is enough; how schools can be helped to provide the best quality meals; the impact of Covid on children in low-income families; and making sure there is no stigma.

The letter said: "Following the series of problems which have arisen over school food vouchers, holiday provision and food parcels since the start of the pandemic", now was the time for a review.

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