“Enterprise and hard work at the heart of the immigrant story”

Labour party hosts diaspora reception to celebrate Britain’s global bonds and bridges

Rupanjana Dutta Tuesday 05th September 2023 08:17 EDT

As the Labour party prepares for next year's general election, with leader Sir Keir Starmer currently reshuffling the Cabinet, they celebrated ‘Britain’s global bonds and bridges’ at an evening reception for the diaspora in a café in South London. 

The reception, attended by senior members of the Shadow Cabinet including David Lammy, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Party Chair and Chair of Labour Policy Review was Labour’s drive to recognise the contribution of Britain’s diaspora communities across the country, both in the UK and globally.

The event also outlined MP David Lammy and party’s goal to reduce hidden fees on remittances sent overseas by UK's immigrant community to support their families, in order to fight against poverty.

The World Bank has estimated the value of these payments from the UK at $10.7 billion (£8.24 billion) in 2022. Yet hidden fees, estimated to cost nearly half a billion pounds a year, are putting additional pressure on families in the UK already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

MP salutes diaspora contributions 

Speaking at the reception, Mr Lammy highlighted the huge contributions made by Britain’s diverse diaspora communities, through business, culture, art, food and music, social action and community engagement, fighting prejudice and championing a modern Britain. He thanked ethnic and community media, for telling UK’s immigrant stories to the world, when the mainstream did not. 

The MP who represents Tottenham, labelled as one of the most diverse constituencies in the world, is of Guyanese heritage and retains close links to the country and to family living there. Mr Lammy who has been renowned for his Windrush campaign and work in criminal justice, said, "Labour is proud of Britain’s diversity and it’s something we celebrate. Our communities are global bonds and bridges to every continent. It is a great strength not a weakness. Every part of Britain has been enriched by the contribution of diverse communities.

"Unlike the Tories who seek to pit communities against each other in divisive culture wars, the next Labour government will value the enormous contribution of Britain’s diverse communities both at home and abroad.

"The positive impact of diaspora communities to fighting poverty and inequality through remittance payments is too often overlooked. Costly hidden fees on these payments put financial pressure on families in Britain already struggling to make ends meet in the Conservative cost of living crisis.

"In government, Labour will set the goal of reducing the obstacles and costs to cross border payments, keeping money in the pockets of Britain’s communities and allowing them to build on their contribution to Britain’s impact in the world."

Paying tribute to thousands of immigrants, building the fabric of Britain’s multicultural society, Mr Lammy further added, “David Cameron (former Prime Minister) had asked me to lead a review on the criminal justice. It was a really important cross-party event. We looked at the figures sent of young offenders coming from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. That was cross party. I'm very sad that we've lost that in the last few years. But I think that we can rebuild those bridges. Again, whatever your background, so I thank you for reminding our party through good times bad times, about the importance of communities represented in this room and beyond. It's so important to understand enterprise and hard work at the heart of the immigrant story…”

'Tearing down barriers to opportunity'

Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities talking about changing social policies and face of the party said, “I know that you share the values that are really critical to us in the Labour Party equality, fairness, tearing down those barriers to opportunity… 

“We don't just want to make our policy change, we want to make sure that that change happens within our own home as well, within the Labour Party. And that has been a long road. You know, the changes that we've made because of the EHRC report; you know the changes that we're making, because before the report recommendations, as well. Everyone who shares our values is welcome, in the Labour Party and needs to feel at home. And we need your brilliance as well to be the face of our Labour party...”

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