Marcus Rashford has shared his delight after the government committed to supporting struggling families over the Christmas period.

Over 2,500 people in Herefordshire signed a petition launched by the England footballer last month, that demanded that the government supported struggling families during the school holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Manchester United player on Saturday afternoon after his sides 3-1 victory at Everton, to tell him that £170m was being set aside to help feed disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays.

In a statement, Rashford said: “There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.

“The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated.”

The £170m will pay for the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to support families over the festive season and local councils will receive the money at the start of December, while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions has said.