Time to give child food poverty the boot

Liberal Democrat Councillors are playing on the same team as campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford when it comes to tackling child food poverty.

The 22-year old Manchester United star has just been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his work ensuring that no child goes hungry.

This is an issue close to the heart of Saddleworth North Liberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness, who is proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (November 4) seeking cross-party support for Mr Rashford’s pioneering work. He has frequently raised child hunger with the Council. Being employed at a Manchester school, Councillor Harkness is well-aware of the adverse impact that hunger can have on a child’s educational performance.

Commenting Councillor Harkness said: “When many people think of top-flight footballers, they think of individuals who are over-paid and self-absorbed. Marcus Rashford has proven that footballers can also care about others, and whilst there may have been a hiatus of play on the pitch during the Covid-19 pandemic, he has been playing away in a different arena, quietly but forcefully, to ensure that every child who is hungry gets fed. It is largely down to him that the Conservative Government was embarrassed into a U-turn to provide school meals for pupils, and his MBE is richly-deserved for those efforts.”

Garth Harkness at Dovestone Reservoir

Mr Rashford has recently called on the Government to immediately fund three recommendations from the National Food Strategy during and after the pandemic.

Crompton Councillor Louie Hamblett is backing his Liberal Democrat colleague: “Whatever football team you support, it still feels the same when you are hungry. We would like Councillors from all parties, whatever colour rosette they may wear at election time, to back our motion which calls on the Tory Government to find this funding and to find it now. Quite simply, the Oldham Liberal Democrats believe that it is truly shameful that in one of the world’s most advanced economies, two decades into the twenty-first century, children still go hungry in the UK.”

The next meeting of Oldham Council will be online from 6pm on Wednesday November 4.

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