From education to employment

Brexit Not Only Threatens Universities, But Will Block The UK Off From Essential Access To Learning

Charlie Mullins OBE, Founder of Pimlico Plumbers

I’ve always said Universities are businesses; and just as businesses around the UK will undoubtedly collapse under Brexit, so too will Universities.

The warnings issued to MP’s last week from University heads, of a no-deal Brexit being the ‘biggest-ever threat’ to the industry, hold real weight and it surprises me that this conversation and these warnings are only being brought to light now.

The UK is increasingly becoming an information society and knowledge-based economy.

There is a huge dependence on EU funding to support the research, growth and development to allow this specific rise in intellectual capital.

Without the guarantee of access to these EU funding canals (and believe after leaving the EU there will be zippo chance of a guarantee) the UK will basically be blocking itself off from access to learning.

The billions of EU research funding which the UK has won over the decades, is aimed at cross national research collaborations.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, or if the UK leaves the EU – it means our scholars and research institutions will not only be excluded from EU funding to conduct these own studies, but the UK will also be left out of any ground-breaking research.

Any robust research programme relies on collaboration, so now we’ll have a situation where UK scholars will leave the UK to follow the research and funding, international students and UK students will seek studies in other countries, taking their money and skills with them, and attracting the next generation of researchers will become almost impossible.

It’s basically a downward spiral of doom, where UK institutions become less effective and the quality of their research and their teaching drops.

This of course impacts the economy. As we’ve just established leaving the EU threatens scientific research and the health of universities in the UK which ultimately puts a question mark over the £21bn contribution universities make to the UK economy.

We are three months from D-day, an astonishingly short period of time, and any person with common sense would tell you that there is simply no way the Government will be able to achieve a ‘good Brexit deal’, which safeguards UK universities and the UK’s position in international research by March.

Theresa May has to come to terms with the incompatible nature of her current deal, and admit there isn’t going to be any deal which would remotely be as good as the deal we have at the moment, as part of the EU.

It’s about time Mrs May stops peddling ridiculous claims to the British people about the value of her deal and pull the plug on Brexit entirely.

Charlie Mullins OBE, Founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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