Scottish Liberal Democrats pledge to strengthen digital connectivity and kickstart the economy

27 Jun 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine, has today highlighted digital connectivity challenges facing communities and businesses throughout Scotland, and the harmful impact that this can have on the economy.

Jardine discussed the issue during a visit to the Edinburgh Data Lab, a non-profit organisation that forms part of the University of Edinburgh.

It comes as the party's rural affairs spokesperson, Beatrice Wishart MSP, leads a debate in the Scottish Parliament, calling on the Scottish Government to finally  address poor connectivity, particularly in rural and island areas.

An Ofcom report recently found that 25% of Shetland households have broadband speeds of less than 30Mbps. Despite the initial Scottish Government ambition to connect every household to superfast broadband by 2021 through the R100 programme, it is now estimated that the R100 rollout will not be achieved until 2028.

Scottish Liberal Democrats would work with businesses, local authorities and communities across Scotland to ensure that every corner of the country has full access to gigabit broadband.

Christine Jardine said:

"My colleague, Beatrice Wishart MSP, is right to raise the vitally important issue of connectivity in rural Scotland. Good connectivity is essential to supporting our economy and helping everyone get on in life, but for the Conservatives and the SNP it's become a hook on which to hang endless broken promises.

"The SNP originally promised superfast broadband to 100% of homes and businesses by 2021. When that deadline came and went, instead of looking at what more needed to be done, ministers were quick to point the finger. Meanwhile, it is entirely unclear whether the Conservative government's programme to expand connectivity in rural areas will be delivered on time.

"It's not just our politics that they want to keep stuck in the past.

"Everyone should have the digital tools they need to start a business, secure an education or access an online medical appointment no matter where they live.”

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