The first thing I read this morning was the letter written by Marcus Rashford, 22 year old England footballer, to all MPs in Parliament. He was giving a voice to the 200,000 children entitled to free school meals who are likely to go hungry over the summer holiday, without the continuation of the free meal voucher scheme. As a child who grew up in poverty in Manchester, he recognises and understands the effect of hunger on the children and the impact on the mental health of parents of not being able to provide for their children, particularly those parents who have lost their employment income as a result of the lockdown for Covid-19, or those on zero hours contracts who have been unable to work. If children are to be able to thrive, they need their basic needs met first (food, clothing, a safe place to live), before they can begin to focus on their learning, in order to try and reduce the gap between their experience of home learning and that of children from affluent families who have been able to study at home via the internet during the past three months.
The second thing I read this morning was a list of monies owed by companies to the government for funds given for furloughed staff. How many of these companies, I wonder, are owned by multi-millionaires, billionaires even, or have wealthy shareholders? How many of these multi-millionaires will have children suffering the effects of poverty on their emotional well-being and education?
I truly believe that the company owners have a responsibility to their employees and their families and should provide for them, much in the way that nineteenth century philanthropist owners of companies, such as Lever and Cadbury, ensured that their employees were well provided for. In addition, I believe that wealthy shareholders should forego their profit incomes. It is the responsibility of those with more than plenty to provide for those who do not have sufficient, in order that no child goes to bed hungry in twenty-first century Britain.