Minister criticises SNP over 'unacceptable' delays in broadband delivery

Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid raised the issue of funding for the R100 project
Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid raised the issue of funding for the R100 project

A UK Minister has criticised the SNP government for “unacceptable” delays in delivering superfast broadband to communities across Scotland.

Margot James MP, Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was responding to a question from Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid in the Commons chamber..

Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid raised the issue of funding for the R100 project, which was announced by the Scottish Government in 2017.

Mr Duguid said that 16 months later, SNP Ministers “have still not got around to awarding the contract” for the work to deliver on a promise of 100% superfast access by 2021.

He added: “Can the Minister assure me that when she next meets with the Scottish Government, she will remind them of the importance of sticking to their own timetable?”

In response, Ms James said: “It is crucial that governments stick to timetables when delivering an essential utility which is a fundamental part of public need.

“I will be of course happy to discuss this when I am next in communication with Scottish Government ministers, who should be held to account for the unacceptable delay in even getting started with this vital work.”

The SNP launched the Reaching 100 (R100) scheme in 2017, pledging £600m of investment.

At the time, ministers committed to providing every home and business in Scotland with access to superfast broadband, with speeds greater than 30 Mbps, by 2021.