Rural Communities in Scotland: Broadband — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:30 am on 22nd November 2017.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Media) 10:30 am, 22nd November 2017

As always, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Howarth. I cannot imagine you expected such a feisty start to your morning.

What we have seen this morning is probably best described as a missed opportunity to discuss sensibly and rationally what is happening across Scotland, particularly in our rural communities, as Conservative Members from Scotland decided they would rather score cheap political points. Every one of us has localised problems around broadband roll-out; when they let the cat out of the bag, what came out loud and clear this morning, from the hon. Members for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (John Lamont) and for Moray (Douglas Ross), is that the issue is actually about power stripping and taking powers away from the democratically elected Scottish Government.

I am not saying the Tories are predictable—although perhaps I am. We heard so much about the SNP’s evil centralisation that is taking place, so I took a quick look at the reality and what the figures actually say. By December 2018, access to fibre broadband in Aberdeen city will 97.5%, in Aberdeenshire it will be 91%, in Angus 94%, in Dumfries and Galloway 97%, in the Scottish Borders 95%, and in Fife 99%.