On the 15th October Marcus Rashford set out this petition onto the Government e-petition system. That was nearly a week before Parliament held their debate and a vote on the provision of free meals for children on low incomes through the School holidays. This petition is known as number 554276 and it is one of 17,230 petitions that have been set out since the Government was elected back in December. Apart from this petition the top 5 petitions have over 300,000 signatures and indeed the top two have nearly 700,000 supporters. So so far this petition is currently just more than 100,000 supporters above either of those other two. However since Thursday morning there has been around 500,000 people adding their support to it, in reaction to the Government and most of its political members opposition to the subject. Nearly half of those people signed this petition on Friday and even yesterday there was nearly 175,000 signatures. Along with the significant increase since yesterday, with only one exception (Eastbourne) all of the other 15 Sussex constituencies have all been signing more quickly than the average across the rest of the UK in that timeframe. Not surprisingly the Brighton Kemptown constituency is ahead of the rest of the region. It is not possible to know when the peak is going to be reached. On the first couple of days after it was launched it reached its initial top number of less than 300,000 and presumably had the Government accepted the proposal things would have gone quiet. Sadly although it passed the 10,000 and 100,000 on the 15th October the Government has not yet responded to it and of course there is no immediate plan for a Parliamentary debate. However the Government response is now urgent as it is getting close to a million signatures. Let us hope the Government will respond in the next day or so. Anyone who signs the petition will be able to read the response as soon as it is published. The rest of the petition request is as follows.
Covid-19 has been tough on us all but Government should ensure children don’t pay the price:
– 14% of parents & 10% of children have experienced food insecurity over the last 6 months
– 32% of families have lost income as a result of Covid-19
– Demand for food banks this winter is predicted to be 61% higher than last.
With the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, I am calling for Government to allocate money to
– Expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit
– Provide meals & activities during all holidays
– Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme.
These 3 recommendations must be implemented without delay to #endchildfoodpoverty.
The following information relates to the largest petitions since 2010, unfortunately there is no data available from the petitions that took place prior to that. During this current Government period two petitions apart from this current one have passed the 500,000 level
- Include self-employed in statutory sick pay during Coronavirus699,591 signatures
- Close Schools/Colleges down for an appropriate amount of time amidst COVID19.685,393 signatures
During the Theresa May Government (2017-2019) there were a total of 8,154 petitions and those with more than 500,000 signatures were the top four
- Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.6,103,056 signatures
- Do not prorogue Parliament1,725,630 signatures
- Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019.608,152 signatures
- Ban all ISIS members from returning to UK598,254 signatures
In the Government before that (2015-2017) there were 10,950 petitions and the ones with more than 500,000 signatures where the top four
- EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum4,150,262 signatures
- Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.1,863,708 signatures
- Give the Meningitis B vaccine to ALL children, not just newborn babies.823,349 signatures
- Block Donald J Trump from UK entry 586,930 signatures
In the five years of coalition Government there were a total of 32,873 petitions but not reached 500,000 so here are the top three
- SOPHIES CHOICE ,smear test lowered to 16 327,877 signatures
- Stop the badger cull 304,255 signatures
- Convicted London rioters should loose all benefits. 258,276 signatures
So the Marcus Rashford petition is currently the sixth most popular since 2010 and by the middle of today it will be the fifth largest. It may not reach 1.7m like the call for the Government not to Prorogue Parliament. What is very noticeable is that none of these very popular ones appear to have gained a positive response from any of the four Governments in the last decade. Let us hope this will be the first!