Oxford could suffer 'brain drain' if UK leaves EU

The Greens have warned that Oxford could suffer a 'brain drain' in the event of a vote to leave the EU.

The Greens, who are campaigning to remain, believe that Oxford would suffer more than most cities because of its highly educated and highly mobile population and high cost of living.

Says Green Party City Leader, Cllr Craig Simmons:

"We have already heard that investment in the Cowley Mini Plant is at risk in the event of a leave vote, deeply affecting Oxford's labour market, but not much has been said about Oxford's academics and professionals whose careers are more directly tied to opportunities overseas. There are several reasons that Oxford will be impacted more than other places. Not only do we have a mobile, international and highly qualified population (one-third were born outside of the UK; 43% are degree educated; one-quarter of the population changes each year) but our economy is geared towards knowledge-intensive sectors (67% of jobs) that can be performed almost anywhere. Also, we get more than our 'fair share' of EU research funding (the UK contribution towards European research was £5.4 billion but it received £8.8 billion back.) which will make moving to an EU country more attractive in the event of a leave vote.  In the event of Brexit, the city will find it much harder to recruit and retain talent - and as a knowledge-based economy this is our life-blood". 

The Greens are campaigning for a high turnout in Oxford to counter those parts of the country where a remain vote is less likely. "Every vote counts in national referenda - so turnout," says Simmons, "will be key."

The Greens have organised a debate on 20th June in Oxford with guest speakers including  Phillippe Lamberts, co-chair Green Group in the European Parliament and Green MEP Keith Taylor.

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