UK coronavirus live: 'increased funding' planned for poorest families over Christmas amid free school meals row

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10.03am GMT

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Hancock said he understood the prime minister had responded to a letter from Marcus Rashford about the free school meals campaign.

There has been communication between the two, as far as I understand it. We have all seen what Marcus Rashford has done, and the way he has conducted himself in this campaign I think is absolutely exemplary. He is making an argument based on his personal experience for the benefit of people who really need that support.

I’m not in charge of the prime minister’s correspondence – if there hasn’t been, I’m sure that that will be followed up.

Hmm, unless he’s referring to the call we had following the u-turn in June?… https://t.co/QSwmyETN7x

10.01am GMT

Speaking to Sky News this morning, the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said he agrees “very strongly” with “the purpose” of Marcus Rashford’s campaign, while insisting the government had provided enough support.

I think we’re all inspired by the way that he’s led that campaign. And the purpose is that no child should go hungry, and that’s right. The question is how we then fulfil that, and so I think that there is a need during this pandemic, and at all times, for the country to come together and to support people and that’s what we’re doing putting that investment in.

Related: Matt Hancock defends refusal to climb down on free school meals

I think that’s absolutely wonderful that companies have come forward and are playing their part and supporting people in these very difficult times.

I also think that it’s brilliant that the councils are coming forward, having been funded by central government – 63 million has gone to councils so that they can do exactly what you say, so that they can support people and make sure that everybody and every child gets the support that they need.

I saw yesterday that Marcus Rashford called for people to work together, for collaboration on this, and I strongly agree with that. It’s about making sure that we give everybody the best possible start in life in what are very difficult circumstances.

We have put that 63 million into councils … There’s constantly work ongoing with councils, especially given that their finances have been hard hit by the pandemic, to ensure that they can provide the services that they need to.

The extra money that has gone into councils, as I say, is for this – including for this purpose – so central government, councils and private companies are all playing a role in trying to support the goal that we all share, which is that no child should go hungry.

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Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK coronavirus live: 'increased funding' planned for poorest families over Christmas amid free school meals row

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