13 January 2017

Tories Wrong on Broadband Claims

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the Scottish Government’s re-iteration of its commitment to provide broadband to 100% of Scottish homes by 2021.

The move comes after a Tory MSP issued a press statement wrongly claiming that some rural communities had been told they would not be included in the national roll-out. It is the second time in just over a week that the Tories have been caught issuing inaccurate and misleading statements, having made an error with their claims on ambulance response times.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“I wish to thank the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, for confirming the Scottish Government’s previously stated commitment to ensuring all properties have access to broadband by 2021.

“I am aware that there has been some scaremongering locally by Conservative MSP Peter Chapman on this matter. I would like to take this opportunity to assure the public that the Scottish Government’s commitment is firm, and reports to the contrary are seemingly based on nothing more than Conservative misinformation.

“On December 21, the Cabinet Secretary informed the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee - of which both Mr Chapman and I are members - that the first phase of the Broadband roll-out was on schedule to reach 95% of properties by the end of this year. At the same meeting, the Cabinet Secretary stated that had it not been for the contract, planned commercial coverage would have reached only 66% of properties in Scotland.“

“I find it puzzling that Mr Chapman would go to the press urging swift action on this matter rather than questioning the Cabinet Secretary directly when he had the opportunity - especially as his only questions at that committee related to trees. I am uncertain of the source of Mr Chapman’s assertions that some communities were not to be included in the roll out of Broadband.

“What is certain today, though, is that the Scottish Government is 100% committed to supplying broadband to 100% of Scottish properties by the end of this Parliamentary term.”

Stewart Stevenson
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