SDLP Economy Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole has said students cannot be collateral damage of the Brexit shambles impacting the North.
He was speaking after it emerged that the Department for the Economy (DfE) faces a loss of £100m in EU funding.
Department modelling to make up for this shortfall considers cutting university places, increasing tuition fees by nearly 60% and abolishing the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“For years the SDLP has warned about the dire impact Brexit would have on people in the North. We are only now beginning to see the real impact of this act of self-harm from Brexiteers.
“The options put forward by DfE would have a huge impact on our young people and their education. Cutting university places will restrict opportunities for our young people, at a time when too many are already leaving this island for university and never returning. Abolishing EMA would also make it harder for working class young people to remain in education and pursue their goals.
“DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons and his party championed the hardest form of Brexit possible. Minister Lyons must not devastate our higher education sector to pay for the disaster his own party wrought.”