Marcus Rashford campaign – dentists back calls for free school meals over Christmas
Dental professionals are backing the campaign of Marcus Rashford for the government to provide free meals to the UK’s children.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has banded together with leading food charities and education unions to pressure the government into providing a ‘coherent response’.
Spearheaded by Manchester United forward, Marcus Rashford, the campaign focuses on the expansion of the free school meals program and the provision of meals during school holidays.
This follows the government u-turn in the summer. It saw the Prime Minister agree to provide free meals for eligible children over the summer holidays.
Guarantee food for UK’s children
Consequently, Rashford’s campaign is widely credited as a key reason for the move.
But now, the BDA are calling on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to step up and make a change; to guarantee children throughout the UK have access to decent food over the Christmas and Easter periods.
The group urge Williamson to ‘commit to funding benefits-related free school meals during the Christmas holiday period and through to Easter 2021’. This includes children from households with no recourse to public fund.
As COVID-19 swept across the world, the BDA warned that oral health inequalities will worsen in response. Key factors include a lack of access to nutritious meals, the suspension of public health programmes and ongoing access challenges.
‘Lack of access to healthy food has a devastating impact on the general and oral health of our children,’ said BDA chair Eddie Crouch.
‘Dentists believe in prevention. COVID is set to send levels of health inequality through the roof. As a result, this government has a responsibility to set out a coherent response.’
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