Rural areas damaged by centralisation

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton.

A Scottish Government publication on ‘Attitudes to Agriculture, Environment and Rural Priorities’ shows just how dissatisfied people are with rural broadband in Scotland.

Of the 2,345 respondents, 62% disagree with the statement that broadband availability is good in rural areas. Only 9% of respondents agreed (211 respondents).

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton now hopes the data will prompt the Scottish Government to tackle poor broadband provision, in light of recent news that the R100 programme is delayed.

Priorities for the future of rural communities included improving public transport links (65%); improving broadband connectivity (61%); and ensuring there are more jobs and opportunities for those who live in rural areas (52%). A majority of respondents (70%) agreed with that there is a lack of jobs and opportunities in rural areas, and reflecting this view, 64% agreed with the statement that rural areas need more support than they currently receive.

Ms Hamilton believes the response shows how the SNP’s centralisation agenda is damaging rural Scotland and removing opportunities from areas such as the Borders.

Ms Hamilton said: “The latest publication from the SNP Government highlights that they are woefully behind when it comes to rural broadband provision.

“The figures highlight what we already know, that rural areas also need more jobs and opportunities to retain young people.

“The SNP Government need to stop dithering and start delivering when it comes to broadband rollout. Just a few weeks ago, we learned that the R100 programme for delivering superfast broadband to all premises has been delayed.”