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Khan vows to set up ‘baby banks’ across London if re-elected mayor



Baby banks could be rolled out in every London borough for families to access free essentials for their children, as part of Sadiq Khan’s bid to win a historic third term.

The London mayor will launch his “safer, fairer, greener London” manifesto in south-east London, pitching how his policies will support young Londoners from birth to securing a job and finding an affordable home to buy or rent.

Operating similarly to food banks, baby banks will provide families with items including nappies, toiletries, bedding and feeding equipment. Many users will be referred to the hubs, which are run by local charities including the Felix Project and Little Village, by a health visitor, doctor or children’s centre.

Khan will also pledge to make his free school meals offer permanent in London, drawing a clear dividing line with the Conservative candidate, Susan Hall, who has confirmed that she would scrap the programme from next year because Londoners could be paying for food “for people who may be millionaires’ children”.

He will say his politics is “about giving the next generation a chance”, with a promise to restore the contract he was raised to believe: “that if you worked hard, you got a helping hand and you made your life what you will”.

The measures have been championed by Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, who says the plans will build on his “achievements of stepping in to help Londoners through the cost of living crisis”.

With mayoral elections due in two weeks, Khan has already vowed to end rough sleeping for good by 2030, build 40,000 new council homes by the end of the decade, deliver affordable “rent control homes”, and offer young people studying in the city a new version of the EU’s Erasmus scheme.

Khan will say: “If my politics is about one thing above all, then it’s about giving the next generation a chance. I was raised to believe that if you worked hard, you got a helping hand and you made your life what you will.

“But over the past 14 years, the Tories have shredded that contract. The promise I make through this manifesto is to restore it and make London the greatest city the world over in which to grow up.”

He will stress there will be “truly no limits” on what can be achieved working with a Labour government, marking 2024 as a “year of historic choice and of historic challenge”.

Rayner said: “Young Londoners can trust Sadiq to keep delivering on his plan to provide them with a strong foundation so they can thrive no matter where they come from … [Khan will] break the link between where you come from, determining where you end up.”

Jamie Oliver described Khan’s move to guarantee free school meals permanently as “phenomenal news”.

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