Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid has welcomed news of a £10 million fund to test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK.
Mr Reid’s Liberal Democrat colleague Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, announced news of the ‘competitive fund’ on Wednesday as part of the Westminster coalition government’s National Infrastructure Plan.
Mr Reid said: “BT are getting Government money to lay fibre optic cables to bring superfast broadband to about 84 per cent of the premises in Argyll and Bute, but it is vitally important that the remaining 16 per cent of premises also get superfast broadband.
“This new £10 million fund will help to develop innovative solutions to bring broadband to the remaining 16% using the £250 million allocated in the 2013 Spending Round.”
Meanwhile, Mr Reid also welcomed the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement on Thursday that fuel duty would be frozen in 2014.
Mr Osborne told the House of Commons that the Westminster coalition government still had hopes of extending the range of the rural fuel rebate which gives drivers on Scotland’s islands a 5p per litre discount on the price of fuel, despite a European challenge to attempts to widen the scope of the project.
Speaking after Thursday’s announcement, Mr Reid said: “I’m pleased by this announcement. It will save motorists on the mainland 20p a litre compared to the previous Labour Government’s spending plans and 25p a litre for island motorists.
“If the Government succeeds in persuading the European Commission to extend the scheme to remote mainland filling stations, then Appin and other remote mainland filling stations will also benefit from the 5p a litre discount.”