Judith Bunting, MEP for South East England and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education in Europe, has condemned the UK government after it voted to end UK access to EU education and training funding after Brexit.
New Clause 10 was an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill tabled by national Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Layla Moran MP. It would have required the Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s education, training and youth programme, Erasmus+. On Wednesday (09.01.20), the clause was defeated by 344 votes to 254, with 336 Conservative and 8 DUP MPs voting against.
Judith Bunting, who sits on the European Parliament Committee for Culture and Education (CULT) says: “This decision is every bit as mindless as it is devastating. Right now, young people in the UK have the resources to live, love and learn across 27 different countries, which not only benefits personal development but is good for the future of the UK.”
“This is a scheme we should champion at every opportunity. Instead, this government, hell-bent on pursuing the most reckless Brexit possible, has voted to end it.
“Leaving the EU does not necessarily mean we have to abandon institutions like Erasmus+. The Conservative government has consistently pledged to minimise the damage of Brexit, yet despite talking a big game, they are once again letting down the young people of this country – and for what?”
In 2017 alone, Erasmus+ supported 47,455 British participants across 742 life-changing projects. Most notably it provides funding for university students to live and study abroad in EU member states. In addition, the scheme was recently expanded through ErasmusPRO to enhance existing apprenticeship opportunities in the EU-27, adding language support and extending placements to 6-12 months.