Football: Manchester United star Marcus Rashford labelled a hero following British government food voucher back-track

Manchester United football star Marcus Rashford has been labelled a hero, following the British government's about-face on a lunch-funding campaign for underprivileged children.

The England international pressed the government to halt plans on ending a meal voucher campaign at the end of the current school term in July.

The 22-year-old cited his own childhood experience of relying on free school lunches.

Rashford's social media campaign was backed by several British celebrities and both sides of British politics.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was adamant the programme would be cut, but completed a full U-turn on Wednesday (NZ time), and announced food vouchers would be provided over the two-month summer break to 1.3 million children who are eligible for free school meals. 

Johnson revealed he had spoken directly to Rashford and congratulated him on raising the issue.

"We have to understand the pressures families are under right now and that's why we've responded as we have," Johnson said.

In an open letter to the British government, Rashford described his experience as one of five children to a hard-working single mother. 

"We relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals, and the kind actions of neighbours and coaches," Rashford said.

"A a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic.

"Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I'm associated with are goals, appearances and caps. 

"I would be doing myself, my family and my community an injustice if I didn't stand here today with my voice and my platform and ask you for help."

Following the announcement, Rashford thanked British lawmakers. 

"This was never about me or you, this was never about politics, this was a cry out for help from vulnerable parents all over the country and I simply provided a platform for their voices to be heard," he wrote. 

"I stand proud today knowing that we have listened, and we have done what is right."