Zoe Franklin, Liberal Democrats candidate for Guildford.
Many thanks for your email. As an alumni member of the university and Liberal Democrats that issues that you raise are particularly close to my heart and I’m happy to respond on the points raised in the letter you included.
- The Liberal Democrats are committed to removing students from the official migration statistics. The guaranteed continuation of home-rate tuition fees and visa-free access for EU students as part of a reciprocal agreement.
I’m afraid that I’m not aware of Liberal Democrat policy on this issue and have contacted party HQ about but haven’t yet heard back. As I wanted to ensure that you received this in time for the 2nd I decided to write without this information.
- The guaranteed right to stay for EU staff and students who currently reside or study in the UK, with freedom of movement unrestricted for those who come to work or study from the EU.
In our manifesto the Liberal Democrats have committed to pressing for the UK to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK, ending their ongoing uncertainty. We will call for the overhaul and simplification of the registration process and the requirements for EU nationals to obtain permanent residence and UK citizenship, as the current system is not fit for purpose. We will urge the government, and use our influence with Liberal leaders in European countries, to secure the same rights for UK citizens living in European Union countries.
- Extending the franchise to EU nationals residing in Britain to vote in National Elections.
I’m afraid that I’m not aware of Liberal Democrat policy on this issue and have contacted party HQ about but haven’t yet heard back.
- The securing of alternative sources of university funding other than raised tuition fees.
The EU is undeniably beneficial for our universities. It has directly invested in British universities, funding projects such as Swansea University’s new Innovation Centre. Under Framework Programme 7 (which ran from 2007 to 2013) the UK won around €8.8 billion in research grants, while paying in €5.4 billion. Through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme the UK is set to receive £2 billion in the first two years. If the government, pull us out of the EU and the European Research Area (ERA) we will not be eligible for any future Horizon 2020 funding. Research and development, academic sharing and the exchange of ideas is essential for the future prosperity of the UK. I don’t have any specific funding sources in mind the issue of funding streams is key and as MP I will work with Liberal Democrat colleagues to identify other options.
- The continued support of Erasmus+ and other EU research funding.
Over the next seven years Erasmus+ was set to allocate almost €1 billion to the UK and involve 250,000 participants. A hard Brexit, which would include the UK leaving the European Economic Area (EEA), would mean an end to our participation. It is senseless for us to withdraw from such a fantastic programme that has helped so many British people to develop, broaden their horizons and gain new experiences. The Liberal Democrats will do everything we can to protect Erasmus+ and other EU-funded schemes which increase opportunities for young people.
- The continued protection of the employment rights currently provided by EU law.
As a party we are committed to defending social rights and equalities. Many important protections such as the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and rights to annual leave are currently based on EU law, and any of these rights have been upheld at the European Court of Justice. We will fight to ensure that these entitlements are not undermined.
I hope that this is helpful and if you have any further queries please do get in touch.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford