£4.7m student travel fund brought into EU row

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.
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EU funding for Yorkshire students taking Erasmus placements could be lost if Britain chooses to leave the EU, politicians have warned.

More than 1,600 students from Yorkshire and the Humber studied in Europe in 2013-14 under the Erasmus programme which involves spending a semester abroad.

Leeds West MP, Rachel Reeves.

Leeds West MP, Rachel Reeves.

The popular scheme involved a pay out of £4.7m from the EU to cover subsistence and travel.

Today the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign group take its Brighter Future In battle bus to Sheffield Hallam University to highlight how this money could be lost if Britain leaves the EU at the June 23 referendum.

And Labour MPs Rachel Reeves and Paul Blomfield will visit the Materials and Engineering Research Institute - a university facility that has benefited from EU funding.

Ms Reeves, Leeds West MP, will say today: “Students can open their horizons and live new experiences thanks to the EU’s Erasmus scheme, which lets them study abroad from Barcelona to Berlin with no extra fees.

Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield.

Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield.

“With just weeks to go before this vital referendum, it is more important than ever to make clear that young people in this region, and across Britain, will enjoy a brighter future inside the European Union.”

Paul Blomfield, who represents Sheffield Central, will say: “The EU’s Erasmus exchange scheme and the huge amount of EU funding we get for university research are just some of the many benefits coming from our membership of the European Union."

Over 1,600 students in Yorkshire and the Humber used the EU’s Erasmus programme to study abroad in 2013-2014, claiming £4.7m from the EU.

The top destination for students is France, with 504 going there to study, with 394 going to Spain and 241 to Germany. Students have also spent a term at universities in Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Belgium and Finland.

University of Leeds students benefited from £1,607,111m, University of Sheffield students £1,189,058m, Sheffield Hallam students £398,898 and the University of York £342,719.

Leeds Metropolitan University students got £321,421, University of Bradford students got £125,815, University of Huddersfield £174,460, York St John University £51,149, Leeds College of Art £3,938 Bradford College £1,719.