BORIS Johnson caved in to Marcus Rashford yesterday — with cash to feed hungry kids.
The PM unveiled a £170million package to ensure the poorest families can pay bills and put food on the table this Christmas.
He also agreed to extend free school meals and holiday activities to cover next Easter, summer and Christmas.
Mr Johnson broke the news to the England footballer in a private phone call minutes after Marcus had helped Manchester United beat Everton.
Rashford’s spokesman said: “He was thrilled and welcomes this announcement. He is pleased the Prime Minister listened and acted.”
The move defuses a month-long row in which the PM was accused of misreading the nation’s mood — although angry Tories were asking why it was not done sooner.
The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be ring-fenced. An extra £220million will provide holiday activities and free meals for kids throughout next year.
And the Healthy Start voucher scheme payments will rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week next April.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the package would build on the billions of pounds spent to protect jobs and boost welfare support.
The measures acknowledge two of Marcus’s three demands — free school meals during holidays and the vouchers rise.
He also asked the PM to hold more talks about extending free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit
Package protects hungry children, says Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary
THIS government always has been and always will be on the side of families.
We responded to the pandemic with a huge package of support to protect jobs, safeguard livelihoods and bolster the welfare safety net.
But we know some families are still struggling, especially those who lost jobs due to Covid.
As Christmas nears, I am with Sun on Sunday readers who believe helping low-income families is the right thing to do.
As the PM has said, no child should go hungry.
That is why today we are announcing a bumper package of support.
Through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme we are handing England’s local authorities £170million, building on £63million distributed earlier.
Councils are well placed to identify families most in need.
And there is a guaranteed £16billion funding.
Next year from Easter through summer to the Christmas holidays we are rolling out our £220million Holiday Activities and Food programme offering activities and nutritious free meals.
We will donate a further £16million to food distribution charities.
The £20-a-week Universal Credit increase means the poorest ten per cent are no worse off.
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