Black tax collectors become empowered


As part of Black History Month, BME women from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) organised a one-day seminar called “Black Innovation and Inspiration.”

There was an array of speakers, including Stephen Banyard (HMRC Director General Personal Tax and Gender Champion), Dr Vivienne Connell-Hall (HMRC Race Coordinator), and Cliff Johnrose from the Ministry of Justice Department.

Some surprising figures from HM Revenue & Customs reveal the truth about the efforts that the HMRC puts forth towards racial integration. Dave Hartnett, the HMRC Permanent Secretary for Tax as well as Race Champion, confessed that out of the graduate applicants to HMRC, 40 percent came from BME backgrounds, and none received a job.

Hartnett also conceded at yesterday's meeting “I have to confess I don’t often think about how the policy will affect specifically white people and black people,” when considering reforms. Instead, Hartnett admitted to thinking more about the divide between rich and poor in British society rather than race issues.

Hartnett also described his experiences in South Africa as “full of love” as a response to “extraordinary culture” and “extraordinary people,” recognising the hard work of Black leaders in ending apartheid and overcoming racism. But the job figures indicate that perhaps Hartnett should do more to further racial equality in his own career and country.

In the keynote speech, OBV director Simon Woolley implored the audience to rely more on themselves for development and progression than their Race Champion. In a hard-hitting speech, he said,

We’re not relying on Dave (Hartnett) anymore. We’re relying on ourselves from now on

Continuing in this strident tone, he argued that they, the audience,

need to demand more

Woolley urged all delegates to volunteer for a public post; magistrate, school governor, councillor or community activist. Organizer Lynda Solomon-Thomas promised to send a list to the offices of OBV.

Other speakers included Robin Landman OBE, the Chief Executive of the Network for Black Professionals, who spoke about networking and urged the delegates to work better together and “be rock solid in every respect,” and John Burey, a member of the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Men’s Network.

Concluding the event, Ifeoma Obienu of the BAME Women’s Network stressed the power of individuals in fighting racial injustice.

You are a person! We all have something to give. We are not a small fish!

Oksana Trofimenko and Danny Mucinskas (OBV Interns)