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Leaving the EU: Research and Development (Scotland)

Volume 620: debated on Tuesday 31 January 2017

10. What steps he is taking to safeguard investment in research and development in Scotland as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU. (908487)

As the Secretary of State has already said, the Government are supporting research and development throughout the UK. We protected the resource budget at the 2015 spending review and committed an extra £2 billion in the most recent autumn statement—the largest increase in science funding since 1979.

A hard Brexit will threaten Scotland’s world-class university sector, and the price of the research development investment that we are discussing was a staggering €8.8 billion from 2007-2013. What representations are this Department making to the Treasury and the Brexit Secretary to protect that vital investment?

Scotland is a powerhouse for academic research, and we want to play to one of this country’s great strengths, so we welcome the agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science and technology programmes in years to come. Britain will remain at the forefront of collective endeavours to improve and better understand the world in which we live.

The most important investment that we must safeguard is the people who work in science and research. What is the Minister doing to ensure that EU researchers in Scotland are sure of their place as we go through the Brexit process?

The hon. Lady makes an important point. As the Prime Minister made clear in her speech the week before last, we greatly value the contribution that EU nationals make in our institutions. The Government have been exceptionally clear that during the negotiations we want to protect the status of EU nationals already living here. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible are if British citizens’ rights in other EU member states were not protected in return.