Government migration advisor is trustee of left-wing pressure group

The Home Office
Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 31/05/2023

- 19:21

The Migration Advisory Committee is a so-called 'independent' quango

A member of the government’s Migration Advisory Committee has active links to left-wing political campaign groups, GB News can reveal.

Jo Swaffield, one of the five MAC members, is a trustee at a left-wing advocacy group that funds anti-border campaigns and groups that conduct political activism against the government’s agenda, including Stop Funding Hate and Detention Action.

The Migration Advisory Committee is a so-called “independent” quango established by New Labour to provide what it claims is “transparent, independent and evidence-based advice” on immigration to the government.

Its most notable function is to compile and update the “Shortage Occupation List” (SOL) which lists the sectors where there is a perceived workforce shortage. A sector, once admitted to the SOL, can bring in overseas workers on relaxed visa criteria, bypassing the usual immigration controls, and including being able to offer wages at 80% of what British workers receive.

However, GB News can disclose that Swaffield is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), a charity group that has received almost £2 million in government grants since 2020.

The JRF funds hard-left groups that campaign against the government’s immigration policy, in particular the response to illegal migration.

Swaffield, an economics professor at Southampton University, has previously been funded by the JRF to conduct research.

The foundation has also produced reports that say the UK housing sector is afflicted by “structural racism” and that this is the result of injustices which “have wide foundations in the economy, society and legislation. This means that they fit within a broader picture of structural racism in Britain: inequalities that structure our current economy and society and create barriers.”

The JRF also claims that “structural racism” is the result of the government’s “hostile immigration policies” and that ‘immigration legislation is driving poverty and destitution”. Its CEO, Paul Kissack, believes that “we have all grown up in structures and institutions that foster racism to some degree.”

Last year, the JRF granted £92,000 to ‘Reframing Race’, a group run by a self-described “PhD-qualified racial justice keynote speaker, researcher, writer and consultant.”

The group said in a report last year that it wanted to advance views including that “racism is in the design of our institutions” and “racism is much bigger than individuals, because it is built into laws and how society at large works.”

The group has also claimed that “unhelpful and hostile ways of thinking about ‘race’ and racism can be considered part of the cultural models that shape society in England and Scotland.”

JRF has also given £150,000 to Barrow Cadbury Trust, which is one of the main funders of Stop Funding Hate, which attempted to prevent GB News from launching in 2021 with an unsuccessful advertising boycott.

The foundation has also supported Detention Action. The group campaigns for “radical reform of the detention system, including the introduction of a 28-day time limit and the expansion of community-based alternatives.”

Swaffield’s links to the foundation come after the Telegraph last night reporter that the government is funding a charity that called British borders “systemically racist”.

The Telegraph reported that left-wing charity the Paul Hamlyn Foundation had received £1.36 million in government grants since 2020. Like the JRF, it has also funded Detention Action.

The PHF has described the immigration system has having “roots in colonial enterprise and racially hierarchical worldviews”, and is “increasingly militarised, systemically racist and discriminatory against women and other groups… [and] shaped by populist narratives”.

The foundation said that the government was “stoking far-Right, anti-migrant activity” through its plans to clamp down on small boat crossings with its new Illegal Migration Bill.

Sir John Hayes, who chairs the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs, told the newspaper that the MAC should be abolished: “The UK can’t afford to be governed by unelected quangos like the MAC. It’s time the Government closed this quango down and saved the taxpayer a tonne of cash.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Migration Advisory Committee is made up of a chair and four other independent members who have been appointed under standard rules laid down by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.”

Prof. Swaffield has been contacted for comment.

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