A group of Liberal Democrat Highlands and Islands MPs and MSPs have written a joint letter to express their “increasing concern” at the reported threat to the R100 programme for superfast broadband in the Highlands and Islands.
This follows reports that the ongoing legal action taken against the Scottish Government’s handling of procurement for the ‘Northern Lot’, may mean that its European state aid protection could expire before the contract is actually awarded.
In a letter to the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, the Liberal Democrat representatives have asked for
“reassurance that the Scottish Government is giving thought now to what happens in the event of the legal challenge being successful, or getting to the year end and state aid clearance cover being lost.”
The rollout is already two years behind schedule, and the Scottish Government will not meet its promise from the last Holyrood election of superfast broadband for everyone by 2021.
Commenting, the group of Liberal Democrat MPs and MSPs said:
“Failure to deliver the R100 programme could have implications for the viability of living and working in the Highlands and Islands. In the context of a pandemic, that is the last thing our constituents need.
“Running down the clock is a dangerous strategy and our constituents need reassurance that the Scottish Government has a Plan B.
“The Scottish Government need to confirm this clearly and publicly, so that our constituents can be certain that this won’t simply be another lost promise."