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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 20:13 GMT 21:13 UK


Race equality chief retires

Sir Herman Ouseley: "Britain more aware of need for radical action"

The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is to retire.

Sir Herman Ouseley will leave his £81,670-a-year post in January 2000 after a seven-year stint, having completed half of a renewed four-year term as chairman.

[ image: The CRE has come under fire for recent ad campaigns]
The CRE has come under fire for recent ad campaigns
The post will be advertised for the first time by the Home Office.

Sir Herman said on Friday the new millennium was an "appropriate opportunity" to allow a new person to take over the post.

"British society as a whole, including its leading institutions, is now much more aware of the need for radical action on racial equality and in some areas of life, action has been taken that shows a measurable progress," he said.

Provocative posters

"Much, though, remains to be done, in particular to quicken the pace of action in the creation of a just and fair society for everyone."

Home Secretary Jack Straw said he was sorry to see Sir Herman go. "I have greatly admired Sir Herman Ouseley's leadership of the CRE since his appointment six years ago," he said.

Last year the commission was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for running a series of provocative posters, including an advert supposedly for rape alarms which featured a white woman on a bus with a black man in the foreground.

The poster read: "It's a jungle out there." The CRE explained later the campaign was meant to shock people into thinking about racial attitudes.

'Whingeing critics'

The ASA reprimand was followed by an attack by a former Commission member, City solicitor Blondel Cuff, who said the CRE was taking a "dangerous and destructive" approach to race relations.

Sir Herman later hit back at his critics saying they preferred to "snipe and whinge" rather than to work for race equality.

He was appointed chairman of the CRE from his post as chief executive of Lambeth Council.

Sir Herman, who is 54, was born in Guyana and moved to London when he was 11.

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