Deputation to Haringey Council

CLAUK, the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK, is taking this deputation on behalf of 4 of our 12 member organisations, all registered charities:
– ESFORAL, a supplementary arts and language school for children in North London.
– Indoamerican Refugee Migrant Organisation (IRMO), a community organisation in Brixton which delivered legal advice sessions in Haringey.
– Latin American House, an organisation assisting the North London community.
– Latin American Women’s Right Service (LAWRS), which carried out a 2-year outreach programme in Haringey and Hackney financed by the Big Lottery Fund.

We are here seeking the official recognition of the Latin American community as an ethnic group in Haringey, and to request the category “Latin American” to be included in ethnic monitoring, following the boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Islington and Hackney.

The Latin American community is one of London’s fastest growing groups, with over 110,000 people in 2008 and increasing numbers coming from Spain, Portugal and Italy, fleeing the economic crisis.

The employment rate is very high (85%). However, many Latin Americans take jobs in the cleaning and catering industries, which lack regulations and are characterised by extremely poor working conditions. We worked with the EHRC to unveil cases of exploitation, forced labour and in-work poverty (see Invisible Workforce report) and with Centre for London to show underpayment of NMW. The main issues are:

  • 0hr contracts and caual work
  • no access to annual leave or sick pay
  • unpaid worked hours or weeks
  • No contract or payslips
  • 40% reported workplace abuse
  • 11% being paid less than the National Minimum Wage
  • 70% perceiving discrimination as a major barrier in the UK (last 3 from No Longer Invisible, Queen Mary University).

Working in isolation and with cuts to Legal Aid, it is extremely hard for these invisible workers to enforce their rights.

Being in work, it extremely difficult for Latin Americans to access ESOL provision and move up the economic ladder. The living conditions are very poor: one third are sharing their homes/rooms with other families, 1 in 5 are not registered with a GP, and only 4 out of 10 have been to a dentist in the UK.

In spite of low incomes, only 1 in 5 Latin Americans claim some form of welfare benefit, which is much lower than the London average. 1

Latin Americans in Haringey
Haringey is among the top boroughs of Latin American concentration: Southwark (15%), Lambeth (14%), Newham (8%), Haringey (7%), Islington (6%), Hackney (6%) and Tower Hamlets (5.5%) (No Longer Invisible, Queen Mary University).

Census data does not reflect the real Latin American presence due to many reasons (the language barrier, precarious living conditions, lack of knowledge, etc.). Nonetheless, the Census shows again that Haringey is one of the boroughs with the highest presence of the Latin Americans: over 4,000 (out of the 254,900 counted) Haringey Residents are Latin American (1.7%).

Information from our campaigns:
a) As a coalition, we run an HIV and Sexual Health campaign with NPL (carrying out 137 rapid HIV tests in the community, and delivered workshops for over 200 participants):
– 10% of the people tested were Haringey residents. Alarmingly, the prevalence rate was 7.6% (1 reactive test out of 13).
– 69% of those living in Haringey had never accessed health care services before.
We will follow up on this work by doing collaborative work with Sexual Health Haringey and Embrace during HIV Testing Week. But with limited resources, we are struggling.
b) We also run a voter registration campaign for the last elections, which helped over 700 LAs get registered: 17% of our new registers where Haringey residents. If you attended our hustings debate at Seven Sisters, you must have seen a full room eager to participate more.

From Latin American community organisations:
c) ESFORAL, in Islington, has had over 120 Haringey children attending their classes in the past 5 years.
d) IRMO, based in Lambeth, identified a high demand of users coming from Haringey, so they run a welfare benefits, employment rights, housing and immigration advice drop in collaborative work with Bridge Renewal Trust. In just 8 weeks the saw 110 Haringey Residents.
e) At Latin American House, in Kilburn, Haringey is the 3rd most common borough of residence for their users.
f) LAWRS run a 2-year outreach programme in Haringey, which assisted over 400 women.
g) LAWA in Islington and Hackney, has provided refuge or assistance to 155 Haringey residents, survivors of domestic violence.

Other evidence of local presence:
h) 40% of families accessing CARIS services for homeless families are Latin Americans.
i) Salvation Army in Seven Sisters with around 15 Latin American Families out of 40.
j) CCL (Christian community of London) with around 300 Haringey families attending to its islington branch weekly, among others.
k) Latin Americans were one of the first groups consulted by HealthWatch once they started in Haringey, needs and views gathered were shared with the Haringey clinical commissioning group.
l) Local organisations with special services for Latin Americans such as CARIS and South Tottenham Cluster of Children’s Centres recognising the importance of identifying Latin American as a separated ethnic group in order to do their monitoring more accurated.
m) Latin American business: Tiendas del Norte and Seven Sister Market in Seven Sisters, Latin stop in Turnpike lane and Latin American shopping centre in Tottenham Hale just to mention the main clusters
n) Churches: Saint Ignatius in St Ann’s with more than 200 Latin American families attending to services every week. Geova weakness in Seven Sisters and Crouch End with a Latin American congregation of around 200 members.
o) Casa de la Salud Hispanoamericana was the only Latin American organisation working in Haringey for more than 15 years. A couple of years ago they started closing services due to the lack of support and funds.
p) Cultural initiatives: Tottenham Carnival which has not happened during the last years, used to showcase the presence of the community locally through art and culture.

In spite of all this community life, the majority of Latin Americans living in Haringey still have to travel to other areas looking for advice.

Official recognition of Latin Americans in the borough will dramatically change the picture in terms of access to services and engagement of the community. Recognition is much more than a box to tick, it is the official acknowledgment of the community, its needs, and its voice.

Recognition in Haringey will help Latin Americans:

  • Access all public services and increase their level of participation in democratic processes.
  • Strengthen links with the local authority and especially with key departments, such as health, community safety, housing and social services.
  • Develop better relations with local services providers, with whom we could work together to facilitate the access of the Latin American community.
  • Recognition will also help the council and local service providers collect data that better represents the existing diversity of the borough.

We therefore request Haringey Council to officially recognise Latin Americans as an ethnic group and to include the “Latin American” category in ethnic monitoring in order to identify and target the needs of our community, and to encourage the inclusion of Latin Americans in relevant strategies, as well as in service planning and delivery.

Lucila Granada
Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator
Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK