Hundreds more children in Haringey will be able to receive free school meals after a council plan was approved.

Haringey Council’s cabinet agreed to make up to 650 more primary school pupils aged seven to ten eligible for free school meals in a bid to reduce inequality and make up for a drop in the number receiving support from the Government.

A further 140 children could get free school meals thanks to a separate fund designed to support families who find themselves in unexpected short-term financial hardship.

After the plan was approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for children, education and families Cllr Kaushika Amin thanked footballer Marcus Rashford for his “tireless campaigning” on the issue of free school meals.

The England and Manchester United star has been lobbying the Government to ensure children receive meals during school holidays.

Speaking during the cabinet meeting, Cllr Amin said: “This is a bold and progressive change that will see almost 800 children on any given school day having a free meal that they would not have otherwise had.

“While preventing hunger at school is right, it is also good for children’s education and good for schools. This is an investment in our children’s future and in our borough.”

The move comes after the number of children who can claim free school meals from the Government fell dramatically in the past ten years, according to a council report. Less than one fifth of Haringey pupils now receive them – down from a third in 2010.

Youngsters made eligible for free school meals will be “from families who are structurally disadvantaged as a result of high housing costs, low incomes and gaps in the benefits system”, the report says.

It includes children in families living in temporary accommodation, council housing or social housing and claiming Universal Credit or legacy benefits but who are not currently eligible for free school meals.