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Revenue and Customs: Northern Ireland

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1273W, on Revenue and Customs: Northern Ireland, if he will take steps to ensure that appointments to HM Revenue and Customs offices in Northern Ireland more closely reflect the proportions of the working age population. (256818)

HMRC is committed to equality of opportunity and is taking the following steps to ensure that appointments reflect the economically active population of Northern Ireland and that any perceived barriers are minimised.

All recruitment processes within HMRC are designed to be fair and equitable and selection is based solely on merit.

HMRC is taking positive action by ensuring that all HMRC vacancy advertisements carry a ‘welcome’ message. This states that ‘we welcome applications from all sections of the community but, as members of the Protestant community are currently underrepresented, applications from this community are particularly welcome’.

HMRC Work Experience Programmes have been targeted to promote HMRC positively to the Protestant community. We anticipate that this will increase awareness of the opportunities that exist within HMRC and in turn lead to an increase in applications from the Protestant community.

HMRC has met with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) and is currently working with the ECNI to agree an affirmative action plan to ensure fair participation of all sections of the community in its work force.