Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:09 pm on 10th July 2017.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire 8:09 pm, 10th July 2017

My hon. Friend makes an important further contribution to this debate and is right in what he says. Let me take him back to the further remarks from my neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire, who pointed out that Brexit provides an opportunity, because EU state aid legislation got in the way of allowing local communities to come up with solutions. When I was a local councillor, we introduced CITI—the communications improvement and technology infrastructure fund—which was a new way of providing match funding from the borough council, but it was then ruled out of order because it was deemed “state aid”. Not only had we, through careful management, kept council tax down and not increased it, by using the excellent initiatives from this Government on match funding and helping local councils keep council tax down, but the money that we had saved and that we wanted to put to good use for the residents of Basingstoke and Deane in north Hampshire could not be used because of state aid rules. So we must tackle these things and we must deliver those solutions for local people.