Leaving the EU: Higher Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons on 9th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

What assessment he has made of the effect on higher education of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education

Leaving the European Union with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. We are working energetically and determinedly to get the very best deal. We are supporting the sector’s transition through Brexit, and have provided reassurance for EU nationals on access to student support for 2020-21, and on migration arrangements for staff and students.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

But what about Erasmus? The Government’s technical notice has confirmed that if we leave with no deal, we will lose membership of the Erasmus programme. Given the benefits that it provides to tens of thousands of students, what assurance can the Secretary of State give to students that those benefits and the support provided will be maintained, and how is he going to achieve that?

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education

It goes without saying that we will always be looking to ensure that all students in the United Kingdom get the very best in terms of their education, and Erasmus has played an important part in that. If we were in a situation where we did not have access to it, we would look at successor schemes.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are not in the EU but are members of the Erasmus programme?

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education

My hon. Friend makes the important point that there is an ability to access such schemes outside the European Union. This has been demonstrated in the past, and I am sure that it can be done in the future.