Hove MP Peter Kyle has asked the Government to guarantee that any shortfall from the £9million EU funding for the University of Sussex post-Brexit is made up – and says if it’s not, Boris should come to Brighton to explain why not himself.
The challenge was made by the Labour MP, who campaigned for Remain, during a debate about higher education in the House of Commons yesterday.
Mr Kyle asked universities minister Jo Johnson, Boris’s brother: “The University of Sussex down in Brighton gets £9 million of funding from the European Union. The leave campaign was very clear that that funding would be replaced by British Government funding after Brexit.
“Will the minister get to his feet and guarantee that that funding will continue? If not, will he bring his brother down to Brighton to explain directly to students why the door of education is going to be slammed in their faces?”
Mr Johnson replied: “This Government, more than any other, understand the importance of science funding. That is why we have protected science spending until the end of the Parliament—a decade of real-terms protection.
“Our universities and institutes can continue today to apply for EU competitive funding streams under Horizon 2020, and I am sure they will continue to be successful in the future.”
Mr Kyle’s question was welcomed by the university, which said: “Universities are a real British success story – we are one of the UK’s fastest growing exports and carry out world-leading research which benefits communities right here in Brighton and Hove, as well as globally.
“So it’s right that universities and MPs make the case loudly and clearly for a strong, outward-facing higher education sector, whatever the political climate.
“Our staff and students come from 120 different countries from around the world. They are an important part of the Sussex campus community and make a huge contribution to the economic and social life of the UK.”
A spokesman for the University of Brighton said: “The EU Referendum vote and the huge political and economic uncertainty it has produced will create significant challenges for all UK universities, both in terms of what it means for our staff and students and our ability to access vital EU research funds.
“The University of Brighton will continue to be an outward looking and internationally-focused institution. Many of our students look to continue their studies or develop their careers in Europe and many EU students want to come and study with us. We will be working hard to ensure that they can continue to do so.”