Marcus Rashford’s campaign to help feed hungry kids in the UK is picking up momentum, as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson rejected the footballer’s plea to extend free school meal vouchers throughout the summer holidays, which would have helped families struggling due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Now Mr Johnson faces a rebellion from some Tories, who support the 22-year-old footballer’s campaign, alongside some businesses and celebrities.
Local lad and Manchester United star Rashford, who relied on free school meals growing up, tweeted an open letter to all MPs, highlighting the issues many families in poverty face.
His campaign took off, and he won support from many politicians, celebrities, businesses and members of the public, including the full backing of Keir Starmer and Labour, as well as the Co-op, who pledged to extend free school meals throughout the summer holidays at its academy schools.
Now several senior Tories have come out in support of Marcus, with Robert Halfon, the chair of the education select committee, telling BBC Breakfast that he thought carrying on with the free school meals programme ‘would be the right thing to do’.
He added: “There are lots of food programmes across different government departments. If they just consolidated those programmes, they would almost have the money for the free school meals programme over the summer, which would cost roughly £110m.”
Former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, tweeted she was confused why the scheme hadn’t been extended by Westminster, saying: “I didn’t have or need free school meals, but I went to a school where a huge % did. Food security during the holidays so important. It’s basic. Feed the kids.”
Conservative MP George Freeman also voiced his support, tweeting: “Free School Meals are a lifeline for many v low income families. Let’s do the right thing: extend FSM thru summer.”
Well done Marcus, keep up the pressure!
Holidaymakers in Ibiza and Majorca will have to wear a face mask at all times in public
Holidaymakers who are jetting to Majorca and Ibiza will have to wear face masks, it has been confirmed today.
The Balearic Islands have confirmed that they are tightening the rules of mask-wearing. The news comes just hours after Catalonia revealed it will be making face masks obligatory at all times in public.
It has yet to be confirmed if wearing a face mask will be mandatory on the beach.
Only yesterday did Catalonia extend the exceptions of their rules on making people wear face masks on the beaches.
If you fail to follow the rules, meaning wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, you will be hit with a hefty €100 fine.
Until now in Spain, face masks have only been obligatory in public places such as shops, and public spaces where social distancing of 5 feet cannot be maintained.
The change means tourists will be expected to wear masks also at any point outside, although practising sport or children under six are exempt.
For those living under the same roof, wearing a face mask while travelling in the same car is not compulsory.
Police are expected to provide advice to foreign holidaymakers who may be unfamiliar with the new rules before they start issuing fines.
News regarding the rules in Costa del Sol are yet to be announced.
Free TV licences for pensioners will officially be axed from August
It’s expected it will effect 3.7 million pensioners.
It has been confirmed that millions of pensioners will be stripped of free TV licenses from August 1st.
The BBC has announced there will be no extension to the two-month stay-of-execution that was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
It is estimated that 3.7 million over-75s will now have to pay £157.50 a year to watch their favourite TV shows.
In the 2017 Conservative election, they pledged to protect free licenses for the rest of Parliament, which was set to run until 2022.
However, the BBC had been responsible for the lifeline from June 2020 following a deal agreed in 2015.
The BBC says keeping licenses free for all over 75s would cost £745 million. Instead, the corporation is introducing restrictions that mean only over-75s who receive Pension Credit will be eligible.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said: “The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe.
“The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.
“Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied.
“And critically it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure.
“Like most organisations the BBC is under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, yet we have continued to put the public first in all our decisions.
“I believe continuing to fund some free TV licences is the fairest decision for the public, as we will be supporting the poorest oldest pensioners without impacting the programmes and services that all audiences love.”
Shadow Culture Minister, Chris Matheson, issued a last plea for the government to take responsibility in the Commons today.
He said: “The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the Government – and pensioners are forced to choose between eating and watching TV.”
Culture Minister Matt Warman said: “The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down.
“I would, of course, hope that there is yet time to reconsider that because he is right to say that television has been vital comfort for many people in the last few months.
Boots to cut more than 4,000 jobs due to ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus
Boots has said that more than 4,000 jobs are to be cut, about 7% of its workforce.
According to Boots, the company is consulting on plans to restructure its head office and store teams, as well as closing 48 Boots Opticians stores.
A Boots spokesman has said the move was part of action to mitigate the ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus, and will particularly affect staff who work in the Nottingham support office.
Some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles will also be affected across its stores.
As well as the job cuts, 48 Boots Opticians stores will also close, the Mirror reports.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.
“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.
“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.
“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.
“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”