SNP MP calls for more support towards Scottish universities 

The chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee has called on the UK Government to provide more support to universities.

Pete Wishart: Universities need support from UK Government to continue overachieving iStock

The UK Government’s response to a Westminster committee’s suggestions for Scottish universities has been “disappointing”, its chairman has said.

Pete Wishart, chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee, said the Government’s response to its report left questions unanswered.

In May last year, the committee published a report which set out what they described as a “crunch time” for Scottish higher education institutions as they dealt with the impact of Brexit and coronavirus.

Among its recommendations was expanding the Turing Scheme to fund international students coming to the UK.

In a response to the report sent to the committee last month, Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, said the Government was committed to international, educational mobility and would evaluate the impact of the Turing Scheme’s first year.

Mr Wishart said: “Scottish universities are a regular feature in league tables of the top UK universities, attracting talent from all around the world.

“However, as our committee identified last year, losing out on academic and research partnerships as a result of Brexit and sky-high visa fees are significantly damaging our ability to continue to attract the brightest and best.

“If Scottish universities are to continue punching above their weight, they need appropriate support from Government.”

He continued: “The UK Government’s response to our report contains many words but says very little.

“There is no good reason why Scottish representation is lacking within decision-making at UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), and making the UK a more competitive place for international students and academics to come is surely only a positive move.

“Yet the Government does not seem to agree.

“It is baffling that this disappointing response to our committee’s report took 10 months.

“This is a priority area for this committee, and I hope the Government reflects on the points we have made and responds to our follow-up letter more swiftly.”

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