SNP MP Demands Apology from PM over Erasmus Replacement


Categories: Brexit, Education, Inequality, UK Government (Westminster)

SNP MP for Stirling, Alyn Smith, has demanded an apology from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for how the Turing Scheme – the UK government’s replacement programme for ERASMUS – has let down young people.

Mr Smith pointed to Anthony Jones, a University of Stirling graduate from Dunblane, who had aspirations to attend university elsewhere in Europe for his postgraduate studies. He was eyeing up either Amsterdam or Barcelona to study economics – which would cost between £2k and £4k per year under the previous scheme, and could have been covered entirely through ERASMUS Plus.

However, since the introduction of the UK government’s Turing Scheme, these courses will cost in the region of £20k per year.

Mr Smith raised this during Prime Minister’s Questions, demanding that Boris Johnson apologise for limiting the life horizons of Anthony Jones – and hundreds of thousands like him – against their will.

Alyn Smith said: 

‘Anthony is one example of an highly intelligent and capable student, the type of person any university would want walking through its doors. Having completed his undergrad in Stirling, he had his eyes set on Europe to continue his studies in economics abroad. 

‘Unfortunately, this was made so much harder by the fact that he, and many thousands like him, no longer gets to benefit from ERASMUS, following the UK government’s last-minute pull out from the scheme at the end of last year.

‘Under the Turing Scheme, tuition fees alone can jump astronomically. In Anthony’s case, between five and ten times the amount they would have been under ERASMUS. 

‘Anthony is one of the lucky ones, and secured a scholarship which, with some help from his parents, has enabled him to study in Barcelona. Something that Anthony and his family have worked out themselves, with no help from the UK’s now inferior Turing Scheme.

‘That’s why I demanded an apology from the Prime Minister over this. Having now lived through a devastating pandemic, young people need their horizons broadened, not narrowed. 

‘No amount of bluff and bluster from Boris Johnson will repair that. The Prime Minister should apologise and his government should act now to re-join the ERASMUS programme, or actually replace it and all of its benefits like for like.’