CLAUK’s Deputation to Lambeth Council

CLAUK's delegation with Lambeth Councillor Lorna Campbell
The delegation with Councillor Lorna Campbell

20th November, 2013

CLAUK, the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK, is taking this deputation on behalf of the organisations present today which include 4 of our members (Registered Charities):

  • Indoamerican Refugee Migrant Organisation (IRMO), a community organisation in Brixton.
  • Latin American Disabled People’s Project (LADPP) , which aims to improve the quality of life of disabled people, their families, cares, and their communities living in London.
  • Latin American Women’s Right Service (LAWRS), which carried out a 2-year outreach programme in Lambeth financed by the Big Lottery Fund.
  • The telephone of Hope, which provides emotional support in Spanish and Portuguese working in partnership with NHS Lambeth.

As well as the Latin American Recognition Campaign (LARC), which campaigns for the official recognition of the Latin American community as an ethnic minority in the UK.

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We are here to ask Lambeth to officially recognise Latin Americans as an ethnic minority

In 2008, there were over 180,000 Latin Americans in the UK. This number increased dramatically in the last 5 years due to the crisis in Europe. The largest Latin American population in the UK is in South London: 14% in Lambeth, where Brazilians alone are in the top 10 nationalities, and 15% in Southwark. Southwark Council recognised Latin Americans in September last year, so we now bring this deputation to you. We are a large, invisible minority in Lambeth.

But being a large number is not the main reason why we seek recognition. A study from Queen Mary University shows that:

  • Latin Americans are a young, highly qualified community, with very high employment rate (85%);
  • Many are in cleaning jobs, which offer poor and exploitative conditions: wages are low, 11% are paid below the NMW, and 40% experience workplace abuse;
  • Only 1 in 5 receives some form of welfare benefit;
  • One third live in overcrowded conditions
  • Access to services is very limited: 1 in 5 Latin Americans are not registered with a GP

As community organisations, we have also identified that securing children’s admissions to Primary and Secondary School is also a big problem for our community.

These issues impact harder on vulnerable groups, not only children, but also young and elderly people, disabled people and women.

Latin American organisations are frequently the only source of information and support for those in need. The ones present today are either based in Lambeth or working with a high percentage of Lambeth residents. Together, they assist over 12,000 Spanish and Portuguese speaking people every year – including over 1,000 attending English classes – but there are many more Latin American organisations in Lambeth.

We have also developed important links with local service providers. Linguistic and cultural specific projects delivered by them have proven to be an excellent resource, allowing to increase LAs access and to carry out collaborative work with other communities. However, with the growth of our community and lack of resources, we can no longer cope with the demand.

We therefore request Lambeth council to officially recognise Latin Americans as an ethnic minority and include the “Latin American” category in ethnic monitoring in order to identify and target the needs of our community, to help us develop stronger links, and to encourage the inclusion of Latin Americans in relevant strategies, as well as in service planning and delivery.

Recognition will help the council reach out and include Latin Americans.

We thank Councillor Lorna Campbell for paying attention to our claims and for all her support, and also Councillor Martin Tiedemann, who has a Latin American background, for his commitment to this cause.

We look forward to working together with Lambeth Council to achieve official recognition.

Lucila Granada
Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK