Government advisers giving guidance to Ministers on post-Brexit immigration policy do not understand business and are ‘obsessed’ with abstract economic theories, ex-Farming Minister George Eustice has said.
Mr Eustice, MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, has called for a shake-up of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and for its chairman, Professor Alan Manning, to be sacked when his current term ends in November.
The MAC’s report on post-Brexit immigration policy, which said there should be no sector-specific migration route for ‘low-skilled’ workers – a definition which covers agricultural employment and jobs in other areas of the food chain such as abattoirs – was slammed by farm leaders.
The committee also recommended anyone earning less than £30,000 should be barred from entering the country. Ministers have decided to consult on this threshold.
In a Westminster Hall debate yesterday (April 30), Mr Eustice criticised the fact that all six members of the MAC were economists and there was no representation from business people or trade unions.
He said: “I campaigned to leave the EU and I want us to have an independent migration policy, but with the power to control our own policy comes the responsibility to get it right.
“The current MAC is not fit for purpose. It is made up exclusively of economists who have never created any wealth nor created jobs.
“They are obsessed with abstract economic theories around productivity and appear to believe they can use immigration policy to socially engineer change by getting rid of people on lower incomes and destroying the industries they work in.
“Under the MAC proposals, [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid’s own father would have been denied entry to our country, which is indefensible.
“We need to broaden the committee so there is real world experience and Alan Manning must be removed from post in November when his current term ends.”