Paul Blomfield

A strong voice for Sheffield Central

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My call to defend university funding after Brexit vote

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I pressed Universities Minister Jo Johnson on how the Government will protect university funding after Britain leaves the EU. Universities receive millions of pounds in EU funding every year and the Leave campaign promised that no sector would lose out in the event of Brexit. The promises they made the British public are already unravelling, but I’m determined to hold them to account and push the Government to agree to replace any funding lost.

During Business Questions, I asked:

The Minister will know how important EU research funding is to our universities, particularly in relation to STEM subjects. He will also know that those leading the leave campaign promised that no sector would lose out as a result of Brexit. Forget about the next two years—if I could push him on his earlier answer, what will he be doing to ensure that UK Government funds replace European funding, pound for pound, in supporting research in our universities?

Jo Johnson replied:

We remain members of the European Union. Our institutions are fully able to apply for and win European competitive funding schemes, and they will continue to be able to do so until such time as we change the basis of our relationship with Horizon 2020.

Obviously his answer missed the point, which is what happens after Brexit. I’ll continue to push for the Government to put the issue high on their agenda for negotiations with the EU and to commit UK funding to compensate for any lost income.

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