Sir Edward Leigh MP has welcomed the Government’s commitment to provide faster broadband speeds across the country.
The Prime Minister has outlined plans to ensure that everyone can access broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps by the end of this Parliament in 2020. People will have a legal right to request an affordable, fast connection, regardless of where they live. The Government will also work to bring in a broadband Universal Service Obligation, putting it on a similar footing to other essential services like electricity and water.
The announcement follows cross-party calls by Members of Parliament for the Government to invest in broadband and Sir Edward has consistently called for improved broadband for rural communities like those of the Gainsborough Constituency. Prime Minister, David Cameron said:
“Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”
Sir Edward Leigh commented:
“There isn’t a single aspect of government or everyday life that isn’t being transformed by digital technology, but slow broadband in rural and even some of our more urban areas leaves many people and businesses behind. This problem is urgent and we must act to ensure that there is no digital divide between cities like London and areas like Lincolnshire.
“The Government’s response shows that they understand the need for mobile and broadband providers to do more. A 10Mbps minimum service obligation will bring the all to many not-spots up to the standard our economy needs for the future.
“This announcement is particularly welcome for my area of Lincolnshire where, despite good progress in the overall roll-out of faster broadband, we still have areas which suffer very slow connections. Faster speeds will ensure that local families, communities and businesses can stay online and reap the benefits provided by a good quality, reliable broadband connection.”
Edward Leigh has backed the FairFuel UK campaign against the April increase in fuel duty. Gainsborough, the Lincolnshire constituency Mr Leigh represents, is overwhelmingly rural and home to many small- and medium-sized enterprises dependent on travel by road. Public transportation options in Lincolnshire are also limited, further increasing the dependence of families and individuals upon automobiles.
“The public finances were left in such a perilous condition by the previous Government that the current Government are forced to make very difficult decisions to bring things back to order,” Mr Leigh said. “It is understandable that these decisions will sometimes have unwelcome results, and that not everyone can be pleased. However the increase in fuel duties is an unwise method of attempting to balance the books that unfairly penalises motorists and businesses.”
“I am convinced that, no matter how small, increases in fuel duty, VAT, and other taxes do not lay the foundations for a return of prosperity. Instead, they penalise the economic interactions of small- and medium-scale enterprises such as your own, inhibiting a full-scale economic recovery. If anything we should consider lowering duties to encourage enterprise and economic expansion.”
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On Saturday, I had the honour of opening Gainsborough’s new flood defences.
The £17m project was outstandingly well handled. It is rare for a civic project to be delivered ahead of time and at a lower price than originally projected (in this case, £3m lower). The top notch levels of workmanship and organisation which surrounded this project are badly needed in other spheres of public management. Read the rest of this entry »