UWE Bristol VC puts case to remain in EU on BBC Politics Show

Issue date: 17 June 2016

Professor Steve West

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), will take part in a debate on the EU referendum scheduled to be broadcast on the BBC Politics Show on Sunday 19 June at 11:00.

He will be joined by Thangam Debbonaire MP, who also supports the 'remain' campaign.

Aaron Banks and one other yet-to-be-confirmed panel member will put arguments for Brexit. The programme will be chaired by David Garmston from the BBC Points West team.

From the outset Professor West has made it clear that he believes it is vital for the future of Higher Education in the UK that we remain part of the EU. He also speaks as Chair of Business West and as a former podiatrist and Chair of West of England Academic Health Science Network, with great depth of insight into the issues relating to the future of the NHS.

Earlier in the campaign he made clear his own opinions that are firmly based in a deep understanding of what Britain's universities stand to lose if Brexit happens.

Professor West summarised what UWE Bristol students get out of membership now, the benefits to research, student exchange opportunities and infrastructure support, saying, “Staying in the EU is critically important not just for the future of our universities but for our regions, communities, business, trade and above all young people.

“Currently a thriving regional economy means our graduates achieve nearly 100% employment just over three years after graduation. Should companies like Airbus, Rolls-Royce and other major employers see jobs diminish so too will opportunities for young people setting out on their careers. To me it is also important that students have easy access to opportunities in other European universities or hear the views of other European students and professors to develop their global understanding.

“We also opened our doors to Eddie Izzard recently during his Stand up for Europe campaign to raise awareness amongst our students about the importance of registering to vote before the deadline.”

Here are opinions Professor West expressed earlier in the campaign and some of the key elements that EU membership has done to enhance and support a range of activities at UWE Bristol.

“As the Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, I believe that it is vital that we remain in the EU. It is clear from the evidence that membership of the European Union makes our outstanding British universities even stronger. This in turn benefits local communities and people by supporting the economy and helping to create jobs.

“The decision to stay or leave is a decision that will impact on generations to come. The world is a small place with significant challenges. My personal view is that we need to work more effectively across continents to create better understanding, greater opportunities for health, wealth and prosperity.

“Now is not the time to increase uncertainty about our futures. Now is not the time to stall investment and disrupt global projects. This is about the futures of young people and how we respond will impact for many years to come. I want to open opportunities up, not close them out. That is why I'm clear we should remain and continue to shape and influence Europe.”

Read more about Professor West's opinions on Europe and why we should remain in the EU here.

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