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UK Holding Back Scotland’s Youth


Categories: Children and Young People, European Union, UK Government (Westminster)

SNP Press for European Opportunities for Scotland’s Next Generation

The SNP continue to make the case for more opportunities for Scotland’s young people – as both Labour and the Tories unite to deny them.

Speaking in the House of Commons, SNP Westminster spokesperson for European and EU Accession Alyn Smith MP articulated the benefits of the European Commission’s proposals for an 18-30 youth mobility scheme following Brexit. Smith highlighted the “fantastic” deal and questioned why both the Tory and Labour parties were so quick to restrict the future opportunities of young Scots to live in Europe.

The proposal by the European Commission sought an agreement that would allow EU and UK citizens aged between 18 to 30 years to stay for up to 4 years in the destination country. Within hours both the UK’s Tory government and the Labour Party had rejected it out of hand. 

As highlighted by the Commission, this is despite the decreased numbers of persons exercising mobility between the EU and the UK, whilst an agreement on youth mobility could also have helped with a parallel discussion on a return to the Erasmus+ programme for UK students. 

Speaking during Scotland Questions, the MP for Stirling said: 

“I have to say I’m a bit bemused by that answer. I will never shake in my view that Brexit was an act of gross harm against the next generation, particularly in Scotland where we rejected it. 

“But we are where we are and the EU has offered the UK a comprehensive youth mobility scheme up to the age of 30 for four years. That strikes me as a fantastic deal. 

“Scotland wants to do it – why is he so keen to hold Scotland back? But my actual question – is he as delighted as I think he must be that the Labour party completely agrees with him?”

Responding for the UK Government, John Lamont MP said:

“Mr Speaker, the Honourable Member and the SNP continue to obsess about Brexit and the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. This government is absolutely committed towards offering opportunities to young people to travel around the world during their education as demonstrated through our association with the Horizon scheme and the Government’s Turing scheme.”

Notes for editors:

Alyn Smith MP Question to UK Government during Scotland Questions Wednesday 1st May 2024:

Commission proposes to open negotiations to facilitate youth mobility between the EU and the UK:

Sunak rejects offer of youth mobility scheme between EU and UK: