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Leaving the EU: Higher Education

Volume 664: debated on Monday 9 September 2019

12. What assessment he has made of the effect on higher education of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (912320)

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.