LibLink: Sarah Olney: Brexit undermines universities at every turn

Sarah Olney has written an article for the Times Educational Supplement talking about the difficulties facing universities as a result of Theresa May’s push for a hard brexit.

Citing Cambridge University’s assertion that Brexit poses a significant risk to our Higher Eduction sector, Sarah outlines this in detail:

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn’t seem to be listening. Theresa May has chosen to pursue the hardest and most destructive version of Brexit possible: taking us out of the single market and the customs union, and even threatening to do so without a new trade agreement with the EU. The government is also refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals  living and working in the UK to remain after Brexit.

The government’s hard Brexit policies and rhetoric risk driving away international students and academics. The number of EU nationals applying to British universities has already fallen by 7 per cent compared with last year, despite the government’s assurance that those starting this year won’t face higher fees after Brexit. Some 53 per cent of foreign academics are now actively looking to leave the UK, and 88 per cent say that Brexit has made them more likely to do so in future.

And what about the EU’s Erasmus programme? It gives 16,000 British students the chance to study abroad every year but the government has made no commitment to maintaining or replacing it after Brexit. Last year, the Liberal Democrats delivered a petition to No 10 and the European Parliament, calling on them to save Erasmus. This petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

And contrasts the Lib Dem view:

The Liberal Democrats want a brighter future for our young people. We would stay in the single market and guarantee EU nationals’ right to stay. We would protect the Erasmus programme and we would also give the British public the choice on whether the final deal is what they want, with the option to remain in the UK if it is not.

And there’s more for students:

The Liberal Democrats would reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university. We would ensure that all universities work to widen participation across the sector, prioritising their work with students in schools and colleges, and require every university to be transparent about selection criteria.

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3 Comments

  • Peter Martin 26th May '17 - 11:31pm

    The electorate has had enough of Brexit. Brexit was last year’s argument for most people. So, whereas Mrs May might have had the idea that this election was going to be all about Brexit, the voters have had other priorities. I would say that the main reason the Labour Party are doing much better than anyone might have expected is that they’ve caught the public mood quite successfully and are talking about a wider range of issues that are of concern to most people.

    The Tories hadn’t thought through their policies properly and are somewhat taken aback to hear that the public don’t much care for them. That could have been so easily avoided. So much for competence, strength and stability!

    So the voters know what’s on offer from both the main parties. But apart from the Lib Dem opposition to Brexit and the proposal to have another referendum they don’t know much at all. So why should they vote Lib Dem unless they are die hard remainers? They’ve all pretty much all made up their minds already. They’ll be those of fairly strong political opinions.

    If you don’t believe me, get a focus group together and ask them.

  • Nom de Plume 27th May '17 - 12:14am

    Peter,
    “Brexit was last year’s argument for most people.” – Any evidence? Brexit has just begun.
    “they’ve caught the public mood” – Define your terms. What does this mean?
    There is the Party manifesto. If you think something is missing or should be emphasized, please make some suggestions. I’ve received a leaflet mentioning things other than Brexit. The LibDems are running a campaign targeted at certain seats, mainly Remain areas. The only poll that matters is the one on the 8th of June.

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