Plans posed by the Conservative government to cap the number of English students attending universities in Scotland has been met with widespread criticism.

The UK Government wants to limit the number of undergraduates English universities will be able to teach from 2020-21.

They are expected to announce on Monday that a cap will also be introduced on the number of students from England heading to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for their higher education.

The plans have been met with criticism from the devolved nations.

“We do not support these proposals and they should not apply to Scotland," Scotland’s minister for higher education Richard Lochhead told The Guardian.

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“That view is widely shared within the Scottish higher education sector, given this proposal came like a bolt out of the blue this week with no consultation generating considerable anger.

“Putting up barriers that stop students going to Scottish universities is in principle wrong and at this late stage is disruptive and unreasonable.”

A Welsh source told The Guardian that the Department of Education’s move was “trampling on devolution”.

The nation’s education minister for Wales Kirsty Williams wrote to the Department of Education’s universities minister, Michelle Donelan. Williams said: “I am deeply concerned that you have chosen to place a control on Welsh institutions rather than work with the Welsh government to achieve a solution that is compatible with devolution.

“I do not believe this approach [is] in the best interests of the UK as a whole, and demonstrates a surprising unwillingness to respect complementary policies in each nation.”

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She added: “My chief concern is to protect the interests of Welsh students and Welsh higher education institutions. I will consider the consequences for Wales arising from the UK Government’s policy and take further action to ensure that those interests are protected.”

The Department of Education said it was looking to bring stability during 'an incredibly difficult time'.

A spokesperson for the department said: “We will shortly be setting out further details on how the student number controls will be implemented, including how they will work in the devolved administrations.”