Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

University Boss Adds His Voice to Calls for Avoidance of No-Deal Brexit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

University Boss Adds His Voice to Calls for Avoidance of No-Deal Brexit

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY of Sunderland's Vice-Chancellor has added his name to an open letter to the Government and politicians, warning against the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Sir David Bell is among several highprofile vice-chancellors of universities across the country demanding that guarantees are put in place over what the letter describes as "one of the biggest threats our universities have ever faced".

Sir David, who joined the UoS last September, is also Vice-President - England and Northern Ireland - of Universities UK who have collected signatures for the letter.

Speaking about his decision to sign the letter, Sir David said: "While I continue to respect the result of the 2016 referendum, I am deeply concerned about the prospect of our country leaving the EU without a deal. That, I know, is a view shared by many people in the region, whether they voted to stay in or leave the EU.

"The North East of England has five great universities. I do not want anything to jeopardise their position when it comes to the opportunities they provide to students, the great research they carry out and the thousands of people they employ. As 2019 begins, we now need our Parliament to agree on a way forward, and quickly."

The letter, published nationally today, states: "Our 50,000 EU staff and 130,000 EU students, not to mention the 15,000 UK students studying in Europe, are starting the new year facing significant uncertainty about their futures.

"Vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combatting climate change. The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged. And we share the concerns of business about the impact of no deal on everything from supply chains to security and travel.

"It is no exaggeration to suggest that this would be an academic, cultural and scientific setback from which it would take decades to recover. …

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