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Clause 7 - Electronic communications code: the need to promote growth

Part of Growth and Infrastructure Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 29th November 2012.

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Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 4:15 pm, 29th November 2012

The Chair is always right, but you, Mr Davies, were certainly right to allow a clause stand part debate. We have had a good and honest debate. There is clearly a division of opinion in Committee about the merits of the clause, but it is important to explore all the different areas. I thank my hon. Friends the Members for Halesowen and Rowley Regis and for Suffolk Coastal for their contributions, and I also thank the hon. Member for Edinburgh South.

I want to go back to the points made at the beginning by the hon. Member for City of Durham. She told us—I wrote it down, but I stand corrected if I am wrong—that local authorities were actively facilitating the roll-out of broadband. I am afraid that is simply not the case in many parts of the country. It certainly is not the case in the northern national parks where broadband coverage, as I have said to the Committee before, is extremely poor at less than 30%. If like me, the hon. Lady wants more visitors to the parks, how do people book their visits and their hotels and bed and breakfasts? Such enterprises require broadband coverage.