Scottish independence: MPs claim Yes vote would damage education

University library The report said the Scottish government must make clear how it would deal with a loss of financial support

A Westminster committee has said independence would have a damaging effect on higher education and research in Scotland.

MPs on the Scottish affairs committee said the impact would be "far greater than that acknowledged by the Scottish government".

Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell said the committee was mainly made up of anti-independence MPs.

"It is little surprise their report opposes independence," he said.

Voters in Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September when they will be asked the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The committee's report said the Scottish government's proposals to make students from the rest of the UK pay tuition fees while allowing free access for students from the rest of the EU "would not be legally sustainable".

It said that based on current student numbers it would cost £150m for Scotland to treat UK students the same as those from the EU.

The report also found Scottish universities currently received 50% more in research grants from the UK Research Councils than they would if allocation of funding was based on population share.

It said the Scottish government must make clear how it would deal with this loss of financial support.

Labour MP Ian Davidson, chair of the committee, said: "Higher education and research is one of the policy areas where the divergence between the assertions of the Scottish government and reality are at their starkest.

"The Scottish government has a clear responsibility to tell the Scottish people how it would manage the damaging effects of changes in higher education and research that separation would bring."

However, Mr Russell said: "With independence, it will be in Scotland's and the UK's interests to maintain a common research area including shared Research Councils. We would negotiate a fair funding formula with Westminster for the future.

"On tuition fees, the requirements of the EU allow for objective justification - that is clear evidence of exceptional circumstances - this is explicitly acknowledged on page 199 of Scotland's Future and also made in independent legal advice sought by Universities Scotland."

A spokesman for pro-independence group, Academics for Yes, said the biggest threat to Scotland's higher education and research sector "comes from further Westminster cuts in 2015".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    445 pickle68
    "I'm Scottish 1st and British 2nd and quite happy to be so."

    That's nice, but you're confusing the issue with flag-waving nationalism. Support for "Yes" is about wanting Scotland to have a government that the people of Scotland vote for. What's wrong with that?

    464 - That's a profoundly stupid point, and can easily be countered by bringing up the EDL & other mad British nationalists

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    440. MarkR1759
    A NO vote will not be a SAFE vote in the Scottish Referendum.
    If you intend voting NO, then consider what you are actually voting FOR
    On the other hand, if you vote 'Yes' you won't be considering anything at all - no firm policy on anything, just a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    Instead of marking people who have a different opinion to the SNP down - what doesn't somebody in that community just answer my question???

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    It looks like that the result in Crimea to rejoin Russia would be over 80%. It would be sad to see if over 80% of the Scottish people would vote to leave the UK.

    Above all, hope it would be a peaceful process for both UK and Ukriain. Like the relatively peaceful process for North Sudan and South Sudan

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    @ 453. You make a very good point and people need to realise the significance of voting Yes, it is not something they can undo at the next election, it is a one way street. Be careful of what you wish for it you are going to vote Yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    I know someone who's named one kid Mungo one kid Angus and blindly hates England or anything English.

    You must be kidding If you think I'm voting for anything that brings about a situation where someone like that has any influence over the future of my children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    452 Gideon's Bible. But surely voters want facts about crucial issues before they vote? RUK says the currency issue is non negotiable and I think we have to accept it is not" bluff and "bluster". Clearly some issues will be negotiated post September( should the Yes camp win) but currency isn't one of them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    These debates are getting more and more scary; can't anyone see the real issues here?

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    @Mr Evans with you on last - woe betide anyone who dare question the logic of the SNP and their cybernats - you are bombarded by abuse - but the fact that they do abuse anyone for suggesting anything against their glorious leaders' somewhat flawed plan just paints the perfect picture keep it up cybernats!

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    444.Drunken Hobo
    There is nothing to debate here really but I'll answer your question out of respect
    1. "Is he" (unpopular) Yes he is
    2. You've misquoted me. I will repeat what I said " His "we hate the tories so vote yes campaign" is disrespectful to Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, Greens, etc supporters.
    Majority of UK is not Tory but using your infamous logic must all be pro-tory. Wow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    Will somebody please tell me who these foreigners are that Tam O Chanter is referring to? Are they from Easter Europe or maybe Africa ! Do they have strange accents - and aren't really like the rest of us!!! This is what its about - bigotry and ignorance! Everybody knows it and sees it and Alex Salmond and his groupies are depending on - No plan, no vision, no argument and ho hope. Pathetic!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    If the current state of affairs is anything to go by, MP's education is severely lacking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    Oh! stop it for years now as they have turned our once great education system into a joke.Whilst they argue among themselves turning it into a political football.We are all heading towards their level of stupidity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    OF U TROT THEN - I'm not concerned about Scottish Education.
    I do have to ask you, -where were you educated?
    Wherever it was. I'm rather concerned about that.
    I'd ask for my spelling and grammar fees to be returned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    @ 438.Jack Napier

    Not sure I understand why your comment has been marked down? I for one would not support such a drastic proposition without being given the full facts irrespective of how wonderful it sounded. Maybe I am particularly careful, but I don't even buy insurance without knowing exactly what I am getting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    439- I think you'll find a lot of the "foreigners" posting here are Scots. and as a Scot, I'm sick of the separatists hijacking the saltire and our culture- Scotland belongs to all of us, not just the SNP and the braveheart nuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    The fact is that if Scotland becomes Independent it will not be because Alec Salmond gets his way, It will be because the people of Scotland got 'their' way
    YES or NO
    Scotland is not voting for any political party, nor politician, but is voting for something, that would be the biggest change that SCOTLAND will ever you and in your children's lifetime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    He says it is in Scotland and rUK interests to share currency which is probably true but if rUK says no then he really needs to come up with plan B

    essentially that means giving up on a proposal before negotiations have started, If Salmond simply gives in & switches to one of the other options the No camp can simply VETO that one too with no negotiation & so on till no options are left

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    It might be easier if these Westminster Committees just came up with a list of things they think Scotland CAN manage if Independence is achieved!

    Condescending put-downs seem to be all the rUk can offer Scotland as part of its Better Together campaign and it is getting rather tiresome.

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    Article in today's Independent on Sunday

    'UKIP is on course to win the largest share of the vote in elections for the European Parliament in May, according to a ComRes opinion poll for The Independent on Sunday.'

    There will be a massive rise in support for a YES vote for Scottish independence when this happens.

    Thank you Farage....The 'Thatcher' that Scotland needed to achieve independence


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