HMRC names new DG for customer strategy and tax design

Deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow will take over from Ruth Stainer from October
Steph Gray via Flickr

By Jim Dunton

17 Aug 2021

Deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow has been appointed as HM Revenue and Customs’ next director general for the department’s customer strategy and tax design group.

Athow will take up the role in October following the departure of predecessor Ruth Stainer, who is taking a 12-month career break.

Athow is currently responsible for the production and transformation of economic statistics and analysis at the Office for National Statistics, as well as for wider leadership across the Government Statistical Service.

He previously worked at HM Treasury for 14 years, and has also served as departmental chief economist at HMRC.

Athow said he was “delighted” to be returning to HMRC at an important time for the nation’s economy.

“It is a department that has done so much to support the country during the pandemic and will be hugely important as the economy recovers in providing the taxation to fund our public services and supporting businesses and people across the UK,” he said.

HMRC perm sec Jim Harra said an important part of Athow’s role would be helping to “build a trusted, modern tax administration system”  that brought in revenue for public services, was easy to get right, and was valued and trusted.

The ONS currently has three deputy national statisticians: Athow,  Iain Bell, and former Government Digital Service boss Alison Pritchard. Each has a different remit.

It is currently recruiting for a new deputy who will focus on leading the continued development of health and population statistics and proposals for the future of the census, which are due in 2023.

It is offering up to £120,000 a year for the SCS Pay Band 3 role. Applications are open until 23:55 on 21 September.

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