Local MSP Gil Paterson is highlighting calls for the Westminster Tory Education Secretary Damian Hind to end uncertainty over the Erasmus+ programme, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport.
SNP Education Spokesperson at Westminster Carol Monaghan MP, pressed Mr Hind to commit to further funding in 2019/20 for students currently studying, and planning to study, in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. Young people can study, volunteer and gain work experience abroad, to develop new skills, gain vital international experience and boost their employability.
Staff can teach or train abroad, to develop their professional practice, build relationships with international peers, and gain fresh ideas and UK organisations can collaborate with international partners, to drive innovation, share best practice, and offer new opportunities to young people.
Last week, the European Commission issued a guarantee that, in case of a no-deal Brexit, current Erasmus students will be able to complete their stay without interruption “provided that the United Kingdom honours its financial obligations under the EU budget."
Speaking to the Herald Mr Paterson said:
“Since 2014 Scotland has received €60 million from this scheme which allows students from all over the EU to travel, study and experience new cultures.
“It provides opportunity to students who would otherwise not be able to afford to study abroad and benefit from that experience.
“Erasmus encourages some of the brightest minds to come together, to work together to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face today.
“The Tory Westminster government must follow the EU’s lead and commit to funding all 2019/20 Erasmus+ placements.
“The Brexit negotiations have been utterly and completely shambolic, Erasmus+ cannot be put at risk by an incompetent UK government putting party interests before country interests especially those of our young people.”
Gil Paterson MSP has called on the UK government to revise its approach to digital connectivity and invest more money delivering high-speed broadband for residents in Clydebank, after it was criticised for ‘short-changing’ Scots on high-speed broadband by a parliamentary committee.
The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee this week called on the UK government to deliver its fair share of UK broadband funding after it was revealed that the Tories have contributed just 3% of the total funding for the ‘Reaching 100%’ project.
Despite connectivity and broadband being a reserved matter, the Scottish Government has invested £600 million in the ‘R100’ programme to deliver super-fast broadband to every home and business in Scotland.
Commenting, Mr Paterson said:
“Digital connectivity is an essential part of modern life and an indispensable tool for business, stimulating economic growth. Here in West Dunbartonshire we have some of the highest speeds in Scotland but the Tories’ lack of ambition for broadband is extremely disappointing, and far behind that of the Scottish Government despite the fact that connectivity and broadband is wholly under the power of the UK Tory government at Westminster. Rural areas have been especially let down by Westminster with a lack of adequate broadband coverage.
‘’The Scottish Government has committed to extending superfast access to all of Scotland by 2021 – with speeds of at least 30Mbps – and committed £600 million to delivering that. The UK government contribution is a paltry £20.99 million which is about 3% of the overall budget.
“It’s time for the Tories to step up to the plate and deliver for the people of Clydebank. They must commit to joining Scotland in the 21st century.”