MPs press for creation of ‘one digital’ nation

Matt Warman with some of the MPs who have handed in the letter.
Matt Warman with some of the MPs who have handed in the letter.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman led more than 100 parliamentarians to call on the Chancellor to invest in broadband infrastructure.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman led more than 100 parliamentarians to call on the Chancellor to invest in broadband infrastructure.

The cross-party MPs and Peers urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP to continue investing in fixed and mobile broadband, in an open letter.

It was co-ordinated by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Broadband and Digital Communication, which is co-chaired by Mr Warman and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

Mr Warman said: “I was delighted to secure such strong support for the letter from across the main political parties and from both Houses of Parliament.

“While the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on higher broadband speeds is welcome news, it is very important that investment into broadband infrastructure and digital skills continues.

“I hope the Chancellor will take our comments on board and continue to consider the importance of broadband services in this and future spending reviews, so that we can ensure families, 
communities and businesses across the country have access to good quality internet needed for a modern economy.”

It follows a recent backbench business debate let by Mr Warman.

The signatories, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP, former Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart MP, highlighted that 17 per cent of the UK still does not currently have the option of a superfast broadband connection and 500,000 households still lack even basic broadband.

They also note the social importance of access to broadband, which in some areas can be the difference between isolation and access to vital services, and call for parallel investment into digital skills, which are essential for everyone from jobseekers to pensioners to get by in the modern age.

In the letter, the Parliamentarians say:

“We urge you to consider the importance of continued state investment in both mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure as part of the Spending Review, so that the digital divide does not widen and deepen, and so that we can provide the same digital opportunities to everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live.

“Continued investment will ensure that we will not split the superconnected from those for whom the 21st century economy is another country. We urge you to invest in creating one digital nation.”