Zayn Malik calls on Rishi Sunak to expand free school meals

Zayn Malik calls on Rishi Sunak to expand free school meals

Zayn Malik has written an open letter to Rishi Sunak calling on the government to extend free school meals to all children in poverty in England.

Like many children across the country, Malik relied on free school lunches while growing up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He has now lent his voice to the Feed the Future campaign, for which The Independent is in partnership with a coalition of campaigning organisations, coordinated by the Food Foundation.

Malik, newly named as an ambassador for the Food Foundation, is backing the campaign’s call to expand free school meals to all 800,000 children living in households on universal credit but missing out on free school meals because their parents earn more than £7,400 a year, excluding benefits.

In a personal letter to the prime minister, the multi-platinum-selling artist and former member of One Direction has urged the government to commit in their Autumn Budget to giving all children living in poverty free school meals.

“The work the Food Foundation do to tackle child food poverty is close to my heart, as I too was one of the children in the UK that relied on programmes to ensure I was able to eat,” the father-of-one said.

“I want government to act urgently to ensure that children no longer have to suffer the trauma and stigma of hunger and poverty and can grow up to have healthy and productive lives.

“I am honoured to also take on the role of ambassador to help bring vital awareness to this critical issue. My long-term commitment to this work is driven by my family’s own experiences and I feel passionately that every child has a fundamental right to good food. This is a problem that we can all work together to solve.”

In addition to his personal letter, Malik is encouraging fans to get involved in the Feed the Future campaign by adding their voices via social media and by writing to their MPs.

Anna Taylor, The Food Foundation’s executive director, said: “Zayn’s music has touched the lives of many millions of people. We are thrilled to be working together on the campaign and that he is becoming an Ambassador. His own experiences as a child will resonate with many young people in Britain today whose voices go unheard.”