BURNLEY MP Antony Higginbotham has welcomed a government grant of £3.9 million to support vulnerable children and families in Lancashire this winter.

He said the cash, announced in response to Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign to extend free school meals over the holidays, would stop youngsters going hungry.

Lancashire County Council to receive £3,920,808 from the government for food and supplies for vulnerable households

The Tory backbencher said further Whitehall grants meant all children eligible for free school meals will have the option to join a new programme providing healthy food and fun activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays next year.

Mr Higginbotham said: “It has always been my view that no child in the borough should go hungry during the holidays and with family circumstances changing so suddenly as a result of the pandemic, it's essential that we look at the best way of providing support quickly.

"Earlier this year Burnley Council was provided with £150,000 from the Welfare Assistance Fund to make sure that every child who needed support over the half term received it, and this announcement of a further £3.9 million to Lancashire County Council will ensure local families that need extra support with food and bills over the winter period can access it.

"I know some have had concerns about how we ensure this money is spent on children and food though and so its welcome that this is now formally ring-fenced for this purpose."