Boris Johnson blasts 'unacceptable' school meal parcels in call with Marcus Rashford after Chartwells packages slammed

BORIS Johnson has today blasted the food parcels fiasco in a telephone call with Marcus Rashford.

The football ace – who forced the Government into a u-turn on feeding the UK's most vulnerable kids during the lockdown – said the PM has ordered a probe of the deliveries.

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And this morning, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that schools will be able to return to the national school voucher scheme run by the Government from Monday.

Schools will have the option to continue using local services – but the move will bring relief to thousands of parents across the country.

Mr Williamson confirmed to the Education Committee in the Commons that £15 voucher scheme, which can be used in supermarkets, would return next week

It follows an outpouring of fury after photos of the packages were shared online.

Rashford said: "Just had a good conversation with the Prime Minister.

"He has assured me that he is committed to correcting the issue with the food hampers and that a full review of the supply chain is taking place.

"He agrees that images of hampers being shared on Twitter are unacceptable."

Meanwhile, Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister spoke to Marcus Rashford this morning to thank him for highlighting the issue around food parcels.

"The PM made clear the contents of the parcel were completely unacceptable and set out the steps the Government will be taking immediately to address this issue."

It comes after mums and dads revealed meagre meal replacements for their hungry children.

Frantic parents shared pictures of potatoes and cans of beans, a loaf of bread and a block of cheese or boxes of cold chips after expecting enough food for a week's worth of lunches.

Many have also been sent five bottles of water – despite being able to give their children water from the tap.

Some say they hadn't received anything yet after weeks of waiting.

Yesterday, Mr Johnson's official spokesperson told the media: "We are aware of those images circulating on social media.

"It’s clear that the contents of those food parcels are completely unacceptable.

“The Department for Education is looking into this urgently and the minister for children, Vicky Ford, is speaking to the company responsible and they will be making it clear that boxes like this should not be given to families.”

And Rashford, who has long campaigned to keep kids fed throughout the pandemic through free school meals, has shared photos of the paltry packages on Twitter.

One mum posted of a parcel intended to feed her kids for ten days.

She claimed instead of £30 worth of food, she only got a bundle worth £5.22 to last for ten days.

The sportsman, who has described how free school dinners kept him going as a boy, said: "One thing that is clear is that there was very little communication with the suppliers that a national lockdown was coming.

"We MUST do better. Children shouldn’t be going hungry on the basis that we aren’t communicating or being transparent with plans. That is unacceptable."

During the summer, Rashford forced a Government U-turn over feeding hungry kids during the holidays.

In October, MPs rejected a Labour motion to extend the free school meals until Easter 2021 – but were later forced into a second turn-around over the issue.

Those eligible for free school meals are entitled to £30 food vouchers, though some parents have stated they have received food bundles instead that cost a fraction of the price

Chartwells, which supplied some of the packages, has released a statement on the issue.

They said: "We have had time to investigate the picture circulated on Twitter.

"For clarity this shows five days of free school lunches (not ten days) and the charge for food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30 as suggested.

"However, in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance."

Besides providing refunds, the food supplier said it would contact "every school" to pin down where any shortages may have occurred and "we will apologise to anyone affected".

It will also make sure that its 10-day food hampers reflect the government's additional £3.50 funding allocation as of next Monday and ensure "that every penny goes into the provision of the food".

This morning, Piers Morgan called the deliveries a "complete disgrace" – as Matt Hancock refused seven times to say he regrets voting against free school meals.

During an interview on GMB that descended into a car crash, the Health Secretary repeatedly parroted that he's "really glad it's happening now".

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