Nick Calls for Improved Broadband and Help for Business as Spending Priorities

Monmouth’s Member of the Welsh Parliament, Nick Ramsay, during last week’s contribution to Plenary when discussing the Welsh Government’s spending priorities for the draft budget 2020/21 in light of Covid 19 requested a green budget with faster improvements to broadband in Wales as well as more help for business.

During his contribution Nick said:” The next draft budget process has to green the economy as we grow out of the pandemic.

“I think broadband is absolutely crucial. Yes, we can improve the road network, yes, we can improve the rail network, and these are all things that we should be doing. But if we actually get the broadband and the digital infrastructure right at the start, then we won't need to be creating that same level of capacity and maintaining that same level of capacity that we have in the past. There are still far too many areas of rural Wales that do not have adequate broadband provision. There have been mistakes made in the past in dealing with some of those contracts, and that needs to be put right. I hope that the 2021-22 budget does feature a real determination, at every level and across departments, to get the broadband infrastructure of this country right, to fill the notspots, and to try to get up to 100 per cent coverage as much as possible, but also reliable coverage.

“I will say that in terms of some things the Welsh Conservatives would like to see, well, we've long been arguing for the repurposing of spending to create a COVID economy recovery fund. We'd like to see a £250 million fund that could be used to help towns and communities across Wales. There's also a strong argument, I still say, for scrapping business rates for businesses up to a rateable value of £15,000, to kick-start the economy and to support businesses at this time and to allow them money to invest in their workforce and in the future. We've also said that we would create business-rate-free zones, with a business rate holiday for up to three years for businesses that qualify to go into those areas. Those are just a few areas that we think could go into the next budget.”