SNP candidate calls for university in south of Scotland

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Calls to look at a new university of the south of Scotland have been made by a Borders candidate in the forthcoming general election.

The SNP’s Calum Kerr has told members of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce that the scheme was “worth serious study”.

SBBC directors also believe that the establishment of a new university in the region - similar to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) - would encourage young people to stay local.

In a keynote address to the Chamber during one of its Meet The Candidate briefings, Mr Kerr, the SNP’s candidate in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said: “It’s something we should definitely do more work on.

“All too often, when students leave to take a degree, they never come back.

“While it’s undoubtedly healthy to travel and to subject yourself to other influences, it would be a great boost for the region if more young people chose to graduate and build careers here.”

Mr Kerr said he envisaged a University of the South of Scotland could, like UHI, spread over campuses.

This is already the case with Scottish Borders College, which he believes could be converted to the new university, with videoconferencing used to communicate with more remote students.

“Clearly we would need to evaluate this in a local context, but there are opportunities and as an idea, it’s worth serious study.”

He added: “I believe that the more powers we win in Scotland, the more we’ll be able to do to build fairness and prosperity right across the country and here in the Borders in particular.

“I’ve developed a strategy which I’ve called Scottish Borders - The Brand to take us forward on all these issues.