Tory Donside candidate Ross Thomson was left facing serious embarrassment today as the Tory-LibDem Westminster Government revealed it is reneging on promises to improve broadband infrastructure in Aberdeen.
In a letter to Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who had been set to provide funding for Aberdeen’s broadband infrastructure revealed that infrastructure build would be “excluded” from the plans.
The letter cites the risk of European state aid rules causing a twelve month delay as being behind the decision to abandon infrastructure investment, however those rules were in place and known about when the scheme was first announced. The scheme will now focus on providing vouchers to encourage more people to take up broadband, despite Aberdeen already having one of the highest participation rates in the UK.
The announcement is particularly embarrassing for Tory by-election candidate Ross Thomson who has repeatedly sought to take credit for the now abandoned plans to improve broadband infrastructure.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire West Dennis Robertson said:
“This is at best incompetence and at worst downright duplicity from the Tory-LibDem Government in Westminster.
“They were fully aware of EU rules when they promised to improve Aberdeen’s broadband infrastructure, so for them to now use those rules to break their word is simply not good enough.
“Aberdeen already has one of the highest rates of broadband use in the UK. The problem is not getting more people onto broadband, it is the connection speed that they get.
“A voucher scheme will do next to nothing for businesses and residents in Aberdeen who need to see broadband infrastructure improvements take place.
“That is what we were promised and that is what the Tories and LibDems in Westminster said they would deliver. Now it seems they have broken their word once again.
“With Ross Thomson having repeatedly tried to claim credit for this scheme, his colleagues in Westminster have done him absolutely no favours by abandoning their commitment.
“It is a serious embarrassment to him and raises major problems for his campaign.”