By Hallum Cowell
The Welsh Government has published a website called ‘Preparing Wales’ detailing what it believes will happen if there is a no deal Brexit. The government stated that “as it has become clearer a no deal outcome is a real possibility”, they have actively decided to actively increase “preparations to safeguard the interests of Wales and its people.”
The website has a number of sections ranging from the economy to the environment. The one that most impacts students is the Education and Skills section. Key elements of the section are that the Welsh Government is “working closely with the education sector to assess and mitigate the potential impact of a no deal Brexit” and that “further education institutions should not face any immediate impacts.”
The article also mentions the impact of the loss of EU funding. “We have made it clear that the EU funding which many of our colleges have benefited from must be replaced in full after the UK leaves the EU.” Wales benefits from the European Social Fund which invests in jobs and education: EU money has supported 72,700 people find work and 234,335 people to gain qualifications between 2007 and 2013. EU funds have also contributed to the Cardiff University Brain Research and Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) of which £4.6m of the £16.2m cost came from the EU.
Current EU budgets which will run until 2020 include contributions of £27.7m into tourist attraction destinations, £24.8m into entrepreneurship support and £75.9m into the Wales business fight. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to EU funding in Wales which will have to be replaced, possibly last minute, when the UK leaves the EU on the March 29.
There is also a section on students from the EU stating that “From March 30th 2018, EU citizens and their families can apply for the Home Office’s Settled Statues scheme. This will enable them to continue to live and work in Wales following Brexit.” In addition, the page claims that “EU nationals that intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019-20 will be eligible to pay the same tuition fees as Welsh students and will be eligible to receive loans or grants from Student Finance Wales. Students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course.”
In the event of no deal, situations may change especially in the education and immigration sectors. The Welsh government has made it clear that consequences would be disastrous for the country.