The Prime Minister promised Marcus Rashford to correct the “unacceptable” free school lunch baskets delivered to eligible families.
Manchester United striker Rashford said Boris Johnson called him on Wednesday and confirmed that a “full review” of the supply chain was underway, after the footballer shared several images of food packages sent to parents.
I just had a good conversation with the Prime Minister. He assured me that he is committed to correcting the food basket problem and that a full supply chain review is underway. He agrees that basket images shared on Twitter are unacceptable.
– Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 13, 2021
One of the images, posted by an angry mother with the username “Roadside Mum,” has been shared over 30,000 times on social media.
It showed a loaf of bread, a bag of pasta, a box of baked beans, cheese, three apples, two carrots, a tomato, two baked potatoes, two bananas, two snacks of malt bread and three tubes cheese the size of a fresh snack.
She claimed she was only given a few pounds of food to feed her child for 10 days – instead of the £ 30 promised by the program.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was “absolutely disgusted” when he saw the photo.
The government contractor who sent the basket, Chartwells, apologized and said the package the mother sent was actually only worth £ 10.50.
“We have to do better. Children shouldn’t be hungry.”
Rashford has successfully campaigned for families eligible for free school meals to have a choice of food parcels or vouchers as schools are closed under national lockdown in England.
“I just had a good conversation with the Prime Minister,” Rashford tweeted Wednesday. “He assured me that he was committed to fixing the food basket problem and that a full supply chain review was underway.
“He agrees that basket images shared on Twitter are unacceptable.”
Rashford tweeted earlier that he had been in contact with Chartwells and that the company had a meeting with the Department of Education.
He said that “once food is supplied to the school system, schools have autonomy over how the baskets are distributed,” and the problem appears to have been compounded by the latest lockdown.
“One thing is clear is that there was very little communication with vendors that a nationwide lockdown was coming,” Rashford said.
“We need to do better. Children shouldn’t go hungry because we don’t communicate or be transparent in our plans. This is unacceptable.”
The photos shared on social media last night and today are totally unacceptable and do not reflect the high level of free school meals we plan to send to children.
– Vicky Ford MP (@vickyford) January 12, 2021
Children’s Minister Vicky Ford launched an urgent investigation and said Tuesday night that Chartwells “had rightly apologized and admitted the package in question was not good enough.”
Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “If the government allows businesses to make money by providing discounted meals to hungry children, we will fight for change. No child should go hungry.”