North West local authorities back Marcus Rashford with free school meal vouchers

Local authorities and businesses in the North West have announced that they will support Marcus Rashford's campaign to give free school meal vouchers during the holidays.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Council, Oldham Council and St Helen's Council are amongst those to have announced they will provide food vouchers for children on free school meals during the upcoming half-term break.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham announced 1000 vouchers will be made available whilst Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has said the council will provide funding for almost 20,000 children in the city.

Marcus Rashford has also retweeted restaurants and cafe's across England that have offered free meals to young people during the holidays.

Andrew Mahon, who helps manage Aubergine Cafe in the Wirral, alongside his wife May is offering a free sandwich, cup of soup and piece of fruit to children over half-term.

He said "My wife and I, we saw the vote in Parliament. And we were a bit dumbstruck. It seems like such an own-goal by Parliament.

"They are talking about trying to balance the books but you don't do that by letting kids fall destitute in the middle of a national health emergency."

Mr Mahon said that for every help request they have had, they have received more than 20 times as many offers of support, with people asking to donate money to help pay for the meals.

He said: "It's very heartening. We weren't expecting it."

Boris Johnson told MPs at PMQs on Wednesday: “We support kids on low incomes in school and we will continue to do so. Credit: PA

Earlier this week MPs voted against a Labour motion to extend free school meals until Easter 2021 something that has been adopted in Wales and Scotland.

In the wake of the defeat, Rashford called on people to “unite” to protect the most vulnerable children after the vote.

Rashford’s petition urging the government to go further in tackling child hunger hit 100,000 signatures just 10 hours after it was launched.

The Manchester United footballer has spoken openly about he and his family relied upon schemes like free school meals as children.

Rashford and his mother both volunteered at a food bank in Greater Manchester earlier this week.