The Russell Group founded in 1994, represents 24 universities that are research intensive, and are responsible for world-leading research. They have been long associated with representing the top universities in the UK, and in the world. Recently Brexit has been creating an issue, and is creating an uncertainty between Europe and the UK, and as to whether research funding will be nullified. Russell Group has recommended that science and research should be a priority in the talks that are taking place between the UK and the EU. It is vital that close relationships with members across the EU be maintained, in order to continue the progress that is being made as a result of the funding that is given. Dr Tim Bradshaw, the Acting Director of the Russell Group, stated that he wanted the rights of EU students and staff to be guaranteed after Brexit. This was due to the vast number of EU members that are vital to the universities, and the fact that nearly half of all UK academic articles are a result of international collaboration.
An example of where UK universities are benefiting of the EU funding is the Horizon 2020 research fund. This fund is bringing in more than £2bn into the higher education sector, and estimated to rise even further. If the UK suffers from a hard brexit, there is a strong chance that these types of EU funding could be put on hold, which can seriously impact the progress of research. Oxford University is one of the beneficiaries of EU funding, receiving almost £66m in the years 2014 and 2015, and thrives off this funding. Implications of Brexit could be so concerning, that Oxford is considering opening a campus in France in order to continue receiving EU funding.
In terms of the manifesto pledges, Labour have pledged to ensure that the UK maintains its leading research role it has by allowing Horizon 2020 funding to continue; the party wants to ensure that the UK maintains membership that is the equivalent to European organisations. The Conservative party remains ambiguous, implying that it will collaborate in science and innovation with EU member states. There is little doubt that this area is incredibly important, and the party that offers the most support on this issue will no doubt gain many votes.
UKIP, which stands for the ‘United Kingdom Independence Party’, is a right-wing political party with Paul Nuttall in charge. Over 39,000 citizens are members of UKIP and the party has been steadily growing ever since Brexit occurred, as they had merely achieved the purpose of their party when Britain left the EU. It is believed that migration outbound is around 323,000, whereas inbound is 596,000 a year, of this (inbound) 268K were from the EU whereas 257K were from outside the EU.
As highly skilled labour is extremely valued as well as students, they would be allowed into the country with a visa, unfortunately lowly skilled labour will experience a 5 year ban, in order to balance the flow of immigration. Mr Nuttall believes this “radical plan” will provide the party a much needed competitive edge over the conservatives, however Theresa May has included in her manifesto that net migration will drop. Net migration is simply defined as the difference between outbound immigration and inbound immigration, to identify whether there is in an imbalance in the flow of migration.
The policy hoped to be implemented will be known as the ‘one-in, one-out policy’, with the hopes of cutting migration from 600,000 to 300,000, overall believing they can achieve a 0% net migration level by five years’ time. There is an exception to the ban on low skilled labour, as ‘seasonal’ fruit pickers are allowed six month visas, due to the fact they play an important part in the UK economy, also it is an easy way to make quick money. UKIP are considering an ‘Australian style points system’ for ‘families, workers and students’, with a Migration control commission overlooking the whole operation. It is important to remember that until Brexit is finalised in 2019, there will still be the free movement of labour, which could cause an even bigger issue for the party. Mr Nuttall commented with “Net migration has been equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham over the past three years”... “This is clearly unsustainable and it is clearly unfair, particularly to inner city communities”.
The conservatives, particularly David Cameron were criticized in 2010 for not causing a significant drop in immigration levels, which could be classed as ‘sustainable’ enough for satisfaction. Immigration barriers have also been seen to be a burden for business, as employers seek the best workers regardless of their worldwide location. Reflecting upon this Nuttel made a fair statement that the Tories should not be trusted by their ‘political will’, as they lack the efforts to achieve any goals regarding the limiting on immigration. John Bickley, proclaimed that England was “the sixth most overcrowded country in the world”. Immigration not only puts a strain on the job sector for British citizens but also on local communities to deliver more needed resources and the public sector to create more transport in order to align with the carrying capacity of the population, not to mention wage cuts.