London is the best city in the world and I feel very lucky to have spent more than 20 years living in Barnet & Camden.

Our culture, opportunities, open spaces, architecture and diversity make it a wonderful place to live and visit. I’ve lived a great life here – studying, working and representing my community in local government.

London should be a great city for all, from all walks of life and of all ages. 

Still, I am painfully aware that the next generation will see opportunities lost because of the cost-of-living crisis faced by their parents.

When families are struggling to make ends meet, children miss out. Whether that’s educational days out, playing a sport, pursuing a passion or just being in school without an empty stomach.

That’s why I was so proud to be at Sadiq Khan’s manifesto launch last week, where he promised to make London the best city in the world to grow up in, as it should be.

I was delighted to hear about the Mayor’s promise to make free school meals available for another four years if re-elected on May 2.

Ham & High: Anne Clarke attended Sadiq Khan's manifesto launchAnne Clarke attended Sadiq Khan's manifesto launch (Image:

Over the past year, City Hall has funded universal free school meals for children in London’s state primary schools, saving families up to £1,000 and leading to more than 17,000 children in Barnet and Camden enjoying a nutritious meal every day during the school year, with school holiday meals made available too.

As readers may know, I have long campaigned on the issue of childhood hunger and have welcomed the Mayor’s programme of holiday meals – so children do not have to face hunger during the school holidays.

This scheme is on top of Sadiq’s measures to support every Londoner – regardless of whether they have children.

With Sadiq Khan, we have seen TfL fares frozen for five years, which means no increase for single journeys, more council homes built than at any time since the 1970s, protections for our environment, and record investment in new transport links.

Sadiq will introduce baby banks in every borough for families to access free essentials for their babies to get the best start in life. This will mean essentials made available to parents of newborns.

He has also vowed to end rough sleeping for good by 2030, build 40,000 new council homes, deliver affordable 'rent control homes' so those living in them don’t need to worry about rent rises, and offer young Londoners a new version of the EU’s Erasmus scheme. This scheme would return the opportunity for our young people to study in Europe that the Government has taken from them. 

The manifesto has brought me hope that London will continue to thrive and invest in our young people. When it comes to voting on May 2, I hope that others share this optimism.

  • Anne Clarke is Labour London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden.