Erasmus Style Exchange Scheme Shot Down By Labour

February 22, 2024

The London Liberal Democrats endeavoured to modify the budget of the Mayor of London today by proposing a pilot program akin to London’s version of Erasmus for the youth across the city.
The suggested initiative aimed to allocate £600,000 from the Mayor’s Business Rates Reserves for a one-year trial of a youth exchange and volunteering program, inspired by Erasmus, designed for young Londoners.

Despite receiving bipartisan backing from the Green Group in the London Assembly, the proposal faced opposition from the Labour Group, leading to its rejection. At the same time, the Conservative Group abstained, resulting in the amendment’s failure.
When directly questioned by London Assembly Members earlier in the day, Mayor Sadiq Khan declined to commit to piloting such a scheme despite the success of a similar program in Wales.

The Liberal Democrats criticise Labour’s vote, asserting that the Mayor’s substantial £20.5 billion budget lacks any allocation to support the aspirations of young Londoners to study abroad or foster European connections, despite his expressed desire to “free young people from the constraints of Brexit.”
The UK Conservative Government withdrew from the EU’s ERASMUS+ program in 2021, a move contested by the Liberal Democrats, who emphasised that it wasn’t a mandatory condition for the UK’s departure from the EU. They point to the successful introduction of the ‘Taith’ international learning and exchange program in Wales in 2021 as a precedent for such initiatives in devolved administrations.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, leader of the London Assembly Liberal Democrats, remarked, “The UK may no longer be a part of the EU, but London is, and always will be, a European City.”

Despite the Mayor’s quote in December 2023, Pidgeon expressed disappointment that the final budget needed more provision to support young Londoners’ educational ambitions abroad or efforts to strengthen European ties. The Liberal Democrats, despite facing resistance, remain committed to advocating for global relations and enhanced opportunities for young people.