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 55.

    Day Trip Dave and his cohorts keep banging on about unity.

    The Act of Union 1707 should be a lesson to all Scots - get a signature raid the family silver and then stick two fingers up and laugh all the way to the corrupt banks.That is what we in Scotland have suffered for over three hundred years and the time has come to say enough is enough. We can rise and be a nation again by voting YES.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    Darth Cameron and England the evil empire…Scotland with the Krankies trying to sell us the Idea of a "cold water cuba". Its more like a cold water Giro a mean ghetto.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Keeping to education, I wonder what will happen if Britain withdraws Scottish qualifications as being valid for doctors, teachers, lawyers, accountants?

    As Scotland will be effectively without Treaty (out of Nato, EU, UK) they would not have to amend their qualification to suit British standards. How will this, + increased immigration controls on non-EU member states effect Scottish universities

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    After all - if they were asylum seekers - they would be allowed to have the same rights as Scottish undergraduates straight away - yet we tax payers of decades have our young treated like this - NOTE 2 Student Finance: My two children want to live in Scotland permanently so why not allow them the same fee help as Scots? My daughter is in her fifth year - I hope u can now say she is independent!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    I was "educated" in Scotland in the 1970s. Standards were utterly dismal especially in maths, science and languages and grades were being fiddled even then as they tried to hide the full extent of the shortcomings. .

    Cannot see how it could get any worse under independence


Comments 5 of 469


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