THE DWP Secretary has been branded “heartless” over a response to footballer Marcus Rashford’s calls for children from low-income families in England to receive free school meals over the summer holidays.
The England striker has been vocal in urging the UK Government to extend the voucher system for low-income families, and wrote an open letter speaking powerfully about his own experiences relying on free school meals as a child – but Downing Street yesterday insisted the scheme will end with the school term.
About 1.3 million children are eligible for free school meals in England.
Scotland and Wales will both continue their free-school meals schemes over the summer holidays.
Despite the Prime Minister’s rejection of Rashford’s plea, the footballer has continued his demands today.
1. When you wake up this morning and run your shower, take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown #maketheuturn
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 16, 2020
In a series of tweets Rashford (below) again made the argument for extending the scheme – and tried to point out to ministers why it’s so important for many families.
He wrote: “When you wake up this morning and run your shower, take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown.
“When you turn on your kettle to make a cup of tea or coffee think of those parents who have had to default on electricity bill payments just to make ends meet having lost their jobs during the pandemic.
“And when you head to the fridge to grab the milk, stop and recognise that parents of at least 200,000 children across the country this morning are waking up to empty shelving.
“Recognise children around the country are this morning innocently questioning ‘why?’. 9 out of 30 children in any given classroom are today asking ‘why?’
“’Why does our future not matter?’”
Journalist Paul Waugh retweeted the thread adding that its “baffling” the Government wants to take on someone with such a huge following – adding that Joanna Lumley once got the Labour government to change pension policy for Gurkhas largely due to her own popularity and influence.
Water cannot be disconnected though
— Therese Coffey #ProtectEachOtherSaveLives (@theresecoffey) June 16, 2020
DWP Secretary Therese Coffey responded to Waugh’s post – and has received thousands of replies in a short period of time for her “heartless” response.
She wrote simply: “Water cannot be disconnected though.”
While for hygiene reasons water cannot be shut off by a water company, families facing financial issues may switch their hot water off to save money.
The tweet was discussed on Good Morning Britain, where Coffey was called “tone deaf” for the post.
Ben Smith told Coffey: “You should be ashamed of that response. Dismissive, flippant, arrogant, detached from reality – all the worst things about modern politics and politicians. Take the time to understand the issues and educate yourself. You have a responsibility to the people of this country.”
And Piers Morgan tweeted: “It’s time to disconnect @theresecoffey from the Government.”
Others pointed out that Coffey was factually incorrect too. One user replied: “If you have an electric shower and your electricity is turned off you can’t have a shower. That was the point he was clearly making, and you’re quibbling over a technicality, you nasty, nasty woman. Who hurt you, or were you born with some essential part of your soul missing?”
— to www.thenational.scot