18 January 2017, 05:48
Student leaders at three Birmingham Unis have joined together to demand Theresa May listens to students when it comes to Brexit.
The student union presidents at BCU, Birmingham Uni and Aston - who represent 70,000 people have put together a plan about what they want to see when we leave the EU.
They want the right of students to study abroad protected and a guarantee research funding isn't cut
Their priorities are: "Community cohesion, the right for EU citizens to live and work in the UK, the preservation of the Erasmus Scheme (which allows thousands of students to study abroad every year), the ring-fencing of £836million research funding (equivalent to that attracted from the EU) and protection of apprenticeships for Birmingham's young people."
Ahmed Hassan, President at Aston University: "For far too long the Brexit debate has centered on trade and immigration, but it is time to look beyond that. Education is just as important and Brexit will have a large effect on it and the millions of people involved. Yes 'Brexit Means Brexit' but what does it mean for the future of our Education?"
Jo Goodman, President of the Birmingham City Students' Union, said: "Following the result of the EU referendum last year, the Higher Education community has faced significant uncertainty. After successfully organizing the Birmingham University's Summit at Parliament alongside Birmingham MP's, joining forces with other institutions allowed us to speak with a louder voice. Theresa May's Brexit speech did not address the impact that the Brexit deal will have on our young people and we need to bring both further education and higher education students back into the discussion."
Ellie Keiller, President at University of Birmingham, said: "Birmingham is one of the youngest cities in Europe, with over 40% of our population currently under 25. Without the voices of young people being heard in the coming months, we believe that Brexit could be a disaster - not only for students, but for the lives of all young people across Birmingham and throughout the UK. We hope that the Prime Minister and MPs take note of our concern, both for the sake of our futures and for that of our city."
It comes as Theresa May faces a grilling by MPs this lunchtime (18th Jan) over her Brexit plans after confirming Britain will quit the single market and warning she will walk away from exit talks rather than accept a "punitive'' deal.
The Prime Minister set out plans for a "bold and ambitious'' free trade agreement allowing the UK to continue doing business with its 27 former partners without paying "huge sums'' into EU budgets.
Labour warned the PM was on course to turn Britain into "bargain basement economy'' while the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator insisted the days of Britain cherry-picking its relationship with Brussels were over.
Mrs May will be questioned by MPs about the divisive strategy when she appears in the Commons for Prime Minister's Questions.