Thursday, 25 October 2012

UKIP Plays "Fast And Loose" With East Of England’s Research Budget

Andrew Duff MEP

Local Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff has slammed attempts by UKIP to slash EU cash headed for local universities.

Under the current EU research budget, the UK has received almost £500 million a year, nearly 10% of the national science budget. But during a vote on the new long-term EU budget this week in Strasbourg, UKIP supported an amendment to reduce this funding for the new programme from 2014.

Commenting local MEP Andrew Duff said;

"It's scandalous that UKIP has voted to slash EU cash for some of the research projects in our local universities including Cambridge.

"Their claim that they are standing up for British interests is laughable."

"Almost 10% of British funding for science projects comes from the EU research budget, which is why it is vital for many of our local universities. For example Cambridge University recently received €97.8 million of grants for 215 separate science projects."

"UKIP have shown they have no regard for our universities and the excellent research they do"  

Dr Joanna Newman, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit said that if Europe is to meet its Europe 2020 objectives for growth and jobs, of which the Innovation Union is a central element, the EU needs to ensure that strategic commitments to research and innovation are adequately reflected in its long term budget, the so-called Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).

"In the current economic climate, the EU must look at ways to stimulate future economic growth and jobs. As its own Europe 2020 strategy states, the Innovation Union has been placed at its heart recognising the role of innovation and research in stimulating growth and jobs.

"Therefore the EU should be willing to shift its budgetary priorities to reflect its focus on innovation and research, by, for example, re-prioritising funds from the Common Agricultural Policy and other areas to meets it Europe 2020 targets," Dr Newman said.

MEPs this week voted on a resolution on the so called "Multi-annual Financial Framework", which sets out the European Parliament's priorities for EU funding from 2014 - 2020. UKIP's political group in the Parliament tabled an amendment to the text calling for cut in the money for, amongst other things, the Horizon 2020 programme, the EU's science and R&D programme after 2013.