fbpx What are the London Mayoral candidates offering the youth sector? - London Youth

25 April 2024

Ahead of the 2nd May Mayoral elections, we set out London Youth’s London Mayoral Manifesto alongside the collective Young Londoners Manifesto, led by Partnership for Young London. There are 13 candidates in total standing to be the Mayor of London. The full list of candidates is available here.

Over the last two weeks, the lead Mayoral candidates have set out their policy stalls and published their manifestos for London. The lead candidates also took place in a BBC debate which you can view here.

Sadiq Khan for the Labour Party

Zoe Garbett for the Green Party

Rob Blackie for the Liberal Democrats

Susan Hall for the Conservative Party

We continue to encourage all young Londoners to have their voice heard by voting in these elections.  For our part, we felt it was important to review how and where youth-related policies feature in the different manifestos. There were three areas in particular we looked for that relate to:

  • Investment and support for the youth sector and a universal youth offer for young people
  • Addressing the priority needs of children and young Londoners
  • Embedding youth voice in policy making


The Mayoral Candidates

Sadiq Khan

London Mayor and Labour politician, seeking third term in office.

Key achievements in current role

  • Setting up England’s first Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) which has helped provide more than 500,000 positive opportunities for young Londoners. The VRU is advised by young people who sit on a Youth Persons Advisory Group.
  • Providing a mentor for every young person who needs one – and has created 100,000 mentors in total.
  • Establishing free school meals for primary school children and a holiday hunger scheme providing 10 million meals to young Londoners during the school holidays.

Key commitments

  • Invest more in youth clubs – creating 250,000 positive opportunities for young Londoners to help steer them away from gangs and crime. This will include access to quality mentoring, alongside investment in more youth workers with a particular focus on schools, pupil referral units, custody centres and major A&Es.
  • A new Holiday Hope policy which will provide youth services and activities during the school holidays and to work with partners to provide free access to sports facilities for children outside of term time.
  • Continue free school meals for primary school children for the next four years.
  • Mental health first aid training for mentors in London supporting young people and piloting new mental health initiatives focused in and around secondary schools; build on these pilots and deliver mental health hubs for young people across our city.
  • Creation of 150,000 well-paid jobs with a focus on jobs for young Londoners from low-income families.
  • Continue free support and training to Londoners who are out of work aged 19 or over, or on low pay.
  • Commit to work with London’s anchor institutions and our Good Work Standard employers to roll out policies that support workers with young children.
  • Support an Erasmus-style scheme enabling young people to study abroad.
  • Redouble efforts to tackle violence against women and girls, ensuring that police reforms “do more to protect young people by ensuring that local authorities and other services working with young people are able to partner with the Met”

Zoe Garbett

Zoe is the leader of Hackney Green Group and has been a councillor in the borough since 2022. The Green mayoral candidate works in a non-clinical role for the NHS and has been employed in the public sector in London for the past 10 years.

Key Commitments

  • Protect young people through strengthening the youth sector: “Young people should be safe on our streets. The best way to achieve this is through a massive expansion of services and opportunities for young people, including support for their mental health, safe spaces to spend time, and trusted adults to talk to”.
  • Expand the Young Londoners Fund further including funding for neurodiverse friendly youth services where carers do not have to supervise their children. `
  • Invest in youth workers, ensuring they have opportunities to develop and progress their careers; advocate for their equal status to teachers and other key workers.
  • Support the work of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU); allocate more VRU funding to carry out its work and recommend changes to policing.
  • Expand London’s Youth Assembly through allowing six additional nominations up to the age of 25 to include students, young carers, young people in care and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities; establish six Youth Assembly Mayor’s Question Time sessions every year.
  • Create a Deputy Mayor for Young People to convene a forum with the London Youth Assembly, youth organisations and related community networks to develop a fair and effective strategy for statutory and voluntary youth service provision across London.
  • Abolish the strip searching of children by the Met Police; mandate training to ensure young people face less discrimination by and are better equipped to engage with the police.
  • Free school meals not just for primary but also for secondary school pupils.
  • Press for reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy so businesses and youth organisations can provide more flexible opportunities to young people.

Susan Hall

Susan Hall has served as a Conservative Member of the London Assembly since 2017 and is a councillor on Harrow London Borough Council. She was a leader of the London Conservatives on the London Assembly from December 2019 until May 2023.

Key Commitments

  • No specific polices that relate to the youth sector or youth services.
  • Create a Women’s Commissioner to address violence against women and young girls.
  • Address young people and knife crime by pledging to get knives off London’s streets.
  • Install knife arches in every London school that wants one so that there are no knives in schools.


Rob Blackie

Rob is a lifelong Lib Dem who served in previous Lib Dem Leader, Charles Kennedy’s team. He grew up in Pimlico and now lives near Brixton running his own business as an adviser to start-up tech companies.

  • No specific polices that relate to the youth sector or youth services.
  • Address the plight of young people spending more than half of their salary on rent. He pledges to strengthen renters’ fights, build more Council homes and abolish residential leasehold.
  • Create a London Apprenticeships Hub to offer technical support to businesses to help unlock more apprenticeships and create a platform for young Londoners to find opportunities for skills, training and work.
  • Pilot a London Erasmus-style (student exchange) programme for young people across the capital.
  • Refocus Stop and Search away from cannabis and towards more serious crime, and challenging. institutional discrimination in the Met Police.
  • Continue the policy of providing free school meals for primary children.


The candidates cover a range of other policies in their manifestos that relate to priority areas for young people such as housing, transport and climate change which are not covered above. As well as referring to their full manifestos you can also read and listen to their pitches in the BBC debate that took place recently which is available here.

The Mayor of London will continue to play a pivotal role for the future of young people in the capital. We look forward to working with the incoming Mayor and City Hall Assembly Members to create the most comprehensive strategy for young people and the youth sector. We will continue to hold ourselves and our youth infrastructure partners to accountalongside all London’s policymakers – to address the hopes, ambitions and aspirations of all young Londoners.

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