UK taxpayers could face multi-billion pound bill to replace lost EU research funding

Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, has said that UK government plans to charge taxpayers billions, to make up for lost EU research funding, does not provide a long-term solution to replacing the many benefits UK universities and research institutes could lose as a result of leaving the EU.

New figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reveal that the UK government would need to spend more than £2.2billion to replace EU funding currently committed to research projects in the UK through the Horizon 2020 programme.

Commenting, Carol Monaghan MP, the SNP Group Leader on Education, said:

“This stark warning that taxpayers across Scotland and the UK could soon be forced to foot a multi-billion-pound bill, to replace lost European funding for research, highlights again just how important our membership of the EU is.

“Scotland’s world-leading universities and research institutes have repeatedly warned of the huge damage that a hard Brexit could cause. The UK government’s stop-gap plan to charge taxpayers £2.2billion to make up for lost support does not provide a long-term solution to the many benefits we are set to forfeit by leaving the EU.

“It is vital that the European funding, facilities and collaboration that the UK benefits from as a member of the EU is not lost. Nor can we afford to lose the mobility of academic talent we depend upon, including the thousands of EU nationals that contribute to Scotland’s success as highly valued staff and students.

“Scotland’s universities are a global success story that enrich us financially and socially. They have benefited hugely from European support and by their ability to attract the brightest and best in staff and students from the EU and beyond. Leaving the EU risks damaging their reputation and our success as a nation.

“Given the damage that Brexit could do, our universities need more than stop-gap measures from the UK government. We need a clear plan and firm long-term commitments on funding, collaboration and an immediate guarantee on the status of EU nationals.”

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