To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Erasmus scheme and proposed Turing Scheme.
15 January 2021
The UK is already a significant net contributor to Erasmus+. The government estimates that the UK’s notional contribution to the current (2014-2020) programme over its seven-year duration will be around €1.8 billion, whilst the UK expected to receive around €1 billion in receipts over the course of the programme.
The budget for the next programme is nearly doubling from €14 billion to €26 billion. In order to participate in Erasmus+, the EU proposed new terms of participation for the UK which included a participation fee in addition to a GDP-based contribution. The only terms on offer to the UK for Erasmus+ participation would mean that we would likely make a gross contribution in the region of £600 million per annum and pay in around £2 billion more than we would get out over the course of the next programme. We obviously respect the right of the EU to set the terms for participation in its programmes but, in this case, we did not believe those terms represented value for money for the UK taxpayer.
Therefore, as an independent and sovereign country, it is also right that we will proceed with the introduction of a new international educational exchange scheme that has a genuinely global reach. The government remains committed to international education exchanges and that is why we have committed to funding the Turing scheme.
The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million for the academic year. This includes the costs of administering the scheme, and I am pleased to confirm that the new scheme will be administered by the same consortium of British Council and Ecorys, which have been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK for a number of years, drawing on their experience of working with education providers across the UK, and ensuring continuity. This will fund similar levels of student outbound mobilities as under Erasmus and provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on study and work placements overseas, starting in September 2021.
The Turing scheme will also go further than Erasmus+ by including countries across the world, while delivering greater value for money to taxpayers.