Project Fear Alert: Brexit won't harm the young
Rump Remain is composed of a sad and desperate bunch who still cannot deal with the referendum result without resort to scare tactics. They say the young will suffer badly after Brexit, but sober analysis shows they stand to gain as much as anyone else
If you’ve been keeping up with the Brexit debate you’ve probably heard some people bemoaning the opportunities which will be denied to young people. Here are some of the wild claims made:
** University education will suffer
** Interrailing and Erasmus will end
** Young people looking for work abroad after Brexit will never have this opportunity.
Let’s ignore for a moment the fact nearly 57 percent of young people do not go to University, and even fewer get to go interrailing in their gap years or take advantage of the Erasmus programme to study abroad.
Let’s accept for a moment that the interests of young people means the interests of mobile University students with potential ambitions of working abroad.
Even with these premises, ‘young people’ being in for a dark future after Brexit is a baseless notion.
Universities will not lose the 2.6 percent of their funding which currently comes from the EU.
The Government has already committed to matching the contributions the EU made to them, and it may even exceed them in due course.
Perhaps money from foreign students wanting to study here may be reduced, but this would be compensated by the rising numbers of domestic students.
There is one area where no compensation is likely to be forthcoming. A few universities are beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), possessing both the large patches of land and a mastery of the relevant paperwork to claim subsidies.
For example, in 2016 the University of Edinburgh received £44,202.68 from the CAP. British agricultural policy may not be so generous to those Universities, but as this is a mere fraction of the above mentioned 2.6 percent of university funding, they will cope.
What of the Erasmus programme? This is the same Erasmus programme which includes distinctly non-EU nations like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway and Turkey as full members, with elements open to dozens of other nations from Algeria to Azerbaijan.
Truth is, Erasmus participation does not require EU membership, only participation in the Erasmus+ programme. A government could theoretically opt out of it, but nobody with any hope of power seriously suggests such a course of action.
As for interrail, it was launched in 1972, a year before the UK’s accession to the EEC. It does not require EU membership. This is in fact, laid out quite unambiguously on the interrail website. To quote from it directly:
“If you're a UK citizen, you can still travel with an Interrail Pass. This does not change as a result of the outcome of the UK referendum. Citizens of European countries that are not members of the EU, such as Switzerland and Turkey, can also travel Europe with an Interrail Pass. Interrail travellers from outside the UK will continue to be able to use their Interrail Pass to travel in the UK too.”
As for all those looking to work abroad, in the worst-case scenario of no special visa arrangements after Brexit those who might want to work in EU countries might just have to get a work visa. Britons currently do this to work in many other countries, like the USA and Australia. Typically, the employer offers assistance too, making the process easy. Yes, it may require a short period of waiting, but such a minor inconvenience is hardly the end of the world.
Young people will still have a world of new opportunities after we Get Britain Out of the EU. A global Britain pursuing closer relations with countries beyond the EU may well ensure it is a wider world with huge opportunities for all those thinking of working outside the United Kingdom.
Alexander Fiuza is a Research Executive at the grassroots, Eurosceptic campaign group Get Britain Out
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