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Broadband voucher scheme a ‘monumental failure’ say Lib Dems

Finance Secretary revealed that just 930 vouchers issued have led to installations out of an eligible 83,855 homes and businesses across the country (Joe Giddens/PA)
Finance Secretary revealed that just 930 vouchers issued have led to installations out of an eligible 83,855 homes and businesses across the country (Joe Giddens/PA)

Scotland’s broadband voucher scheme has been branded a “monumental failure” after it emerged just 1% of eligible properties have been connected.

The scheme provides funding to help homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas who are not in scope of either Reaching 100% (R100) contracts or planned commercial investment to install superfast broadband.

But in response to a parliamentary question from Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie, the Finance Secretary revealed that just 930 vouchers issued have led to installations out of an eligible 83,855 homes and businesses across the country.

Scottish Budget 2022-23
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes revealed the figures in response to a parliamentary question (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Kate Forbes reported that a further 865 vouchers have been issued so far.

Figures showed there were no vouchers issued to any homes or businesses in the remote locations of Shetland and the Western Isles, while just nine properties were connected in Glasgow.

Mr Rennie called on the Scottish Government to “ensure communities do not miss out” on promised broadband investment.

He said: “The Scottish Government’s broadband voucher scheme is a monumental failure. Only 2% of eligible properties have been able to secure a voucher, and only 1% have actually got the upgraded connection they need.

“The homes and businesses excluded from the Government’s R100 programme are now missing out on even the DIY scheme.

“It might as well be advertised at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘beware of the leopard’.

“Good quality internet is essential for starting businesses, securing a good education and even attending medical appointments in every corner of Scotland, but particularly in remote and rural communities.

“The Scottish Government need to get people hooked up to this scheme and ensure that communities do not miss out on the broadband connections they have been promised for so many years.”

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