Man United's Rashford vows to fight for vulnerable children despite Prime Minister snub

Marcus Rashford has promised to fight on in his effort to provide meals for vulnerable children over the school holidays despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejecting his plea.

The Manchester United striker urged politicians in an open letter published on Sunday to re-think the decision to end a national voucher scheme to feed children from low-income families while schools were closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

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A spokesman for the Department for Education said on Monday the initiative would end as planned at the completion of the school year but Rashford insists he will continue his campaign.

"We aren't beaten yet, stand strong for the 200,000 children who haven't had a meal to eat today," he tweeted to his 2.7 million followers.

Johnson said through his spokesman that he will reply to Rashford's open letter to MPs, which included details about his own use of food banks when he was growing up in south Manchester.

Rashford, 22, has already helped raise more than £20 million for food distribution charity FareShare during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The PM understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63m for local authorities to benefit families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials.

"The PM will respond to Marcus Rashford's letter as soon as he can -- he has been using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues."

The government introduced the scheme, which is worth £15 to recipients, in March when schools were forced to shut down and has been backed by teachers' unions.

And despite Rashford's plea, the Department for Education said it would not continue over the school holidays.

A statement read: "As schools open more widely, and their kitchens reopen, we expect schools to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are not yet able to return to school.

"Where this is not possible, schools can continue to offer vouchers to eligible pupils. Free schools meals are ordinarily term-time only, and the national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays."