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Fat cat Trevor won't fight for us

by Lester Holloway

TREVOR PHILLIPS has been awarded an inflation-busting pay rise despite slashing the number of race cases the CRE fights.

Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips: 13% wage rise…  lucky for some

While public sector workers were given, on average, a 3% rise last year, the Commission for Racial Equality chairman got a whopping 13% rise.

His take-home pay now tops £150,000, up from £120,000 in the previous year.

Phillips CRE salary, revealed in his latest annual report, is almost £20,000 more than his boss John Reid, the Home Secretary, gets.

Yet Phillips hardly delivers value for money when it comes to fighting for victims of racial discrimination. The annual report shows the CRE took up just THREE legal cases in the last year – for the whole of Britain.

That's a slight improvement on the previous year, when the CRE helped just ONE person with full funding for their legal case.


Phillips has boasted of his success in reducing costs to the taxpayer in fighting race cases, claiming “the amount of taxpayers money earmarked for expensive lawyers was kept to a minimum”.

Lord Herman Ouseley
Lord Herman Ouseley: a far better record fighting race cases.

He is now poised to take over as chairman of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights – a body he opposed until recently.

Critics say Phillips should not be installed in this new position because he has failed to show a commitment to enforcing discrimination law.

Closer analysis of the CRE's report shows the number of race cases recieving partial funding in the last year has fallen to zero, down from three in 2004.

It's a far cry from Phillips' predecessor Lord Herman Ouseley, who made sure the CRE fully supported at least 80 cases a year, with partial assistance for another 50 victims.

The CRE has failed to publish the wages of its chief operating officer Maxine Ayton, and their director of strategy and communication Colleen Harris – a former press aide to Prince Charles.


The pair 'declined their consent to the publication of details of their remuneration from the Commission’, a public body funded by the taxpayer.

Karen Chouhan, a trustee of The 1990 Trust, said: 'The CRE is an organisation with incredible powers to the extent that it is the envy of many around the world fighting for race equality.

'It has extensive legal powers to launch investigations into race discrimination, use the courts to force institutions and employers to act to reverse discriminatory practices, and it can take up individuals’ cases to challenge racism in the courts, with the potential of establishing case law and improving the chances of others who face racism.

'It is shocking that since 2003, the CRE has done very little to turn its amazing powers into real tools for change: the number of cases receiving full representation is embarrassing, particularly when compared to the previous period.'

Yesterday (Sunday 6th August, the Independent on Sunday revealed a growing chorus of criticism over Phillips' record with many believing him unsuitable to lead the new single equalities body.

Equalities experts suspect Phillips of being too close to New Labour when a more independent figure is needed to lead the £70m super-body.

Last month Lord Ouseley said the ideal candidate must be able to “say 'butt out' to the government if what they want is not in the interests of equalities”.

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