Johnson says holiday hunger for school children is an issue

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a news conference amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Downing Street in London, Britain, October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he fully accepted that children going hungry during school holidays was a problem during the pandemic but said he had not spoken to Marcus Rashford over his plans to tackle it.

Rashford, the Manchester United striker, has campaigned for the government to provide food vouchers during school holidays to children who normally receive free meals during term time if their parents receive welfare support.

“I haven’t spoken to Marcus since June but I think that what he’s doing is terrific,” Johnson told broadcasters.

“We certainly recognise that there is an issue. We have been dealing with it continuously throughout the period of the pandemic. And we’re going to continue to deal with it. And just to repeat, we will make sure we will do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry this winter during the holidays.”

“The debate is how do you deal with it,” he said.

Johnson said the government had increased the Universal Credit benefit which will help support families through holidays.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by William James