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‘Lost a lifeline’ Rashford says honorary degree ‘bittersweet’ after Universal Credit cut

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The 46-time capped England forward became the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester on Thursday. But Rashford, 23, said at the ceremony at Old Trafford that the Government’s cut to Universal Credit ensured “millions of families across the UK lost a lifeline”.

The Government had introduced a £20-a-week uplift to help support those on low incomes when the pandemic hit Britain.

Despite pressure from Tory MPs, including ex-Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson’s Government decided to end the uplift on the day he took to the stage in Rashford’s home town to address his party members.

The Manchester United player received the degree for his work battling child poverty.

Rashford’s work even included forcing Boris Johnson to make a £170million U-turn that saw disadvantaged children receive free school meals over the Christmas holidays.

During the pandemic, Rashford also became the youngest person to top The Sunday Times Giving List after donating a whopping £20million to supermarkets and campaign groups.

Manchester United’s legendary ex-manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, accompanied Rashford’s friends and family as the 23-year-old collected his award from the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Sky News reports Rashford called on politicians to get “out into communities”, such as his hometown of Wythenshawe in Manchester.

“To be here in the presence of a great such as Sir Alex, and those who have played a huge role in my journey to be where I am today is special,” the footballer said.

“I’m here to receive my honorary doctorate for my work around child poverty.

“Yesterday, millions of families across the UK lost a lifeline and a means of staying afloat.

“A move that could see child poverty rise to one in three children.

“For that reason, today is bittersweet.

“It’s time that representatives got out into communities like mine.

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“It’s time they saw first-hand the true measure of struggle.

“COVID-19 can no longer be used as an excuse.”

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