TV pilot money should be spent on Welsh broadband

Plaid Cymru’s treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, today called for money that was due to be spent on a Welsh news service to be transferred to the Welsh Government for use on improving broadband infrastructure in Wales. The Plaid MP specifically highlighted the plight of villages in his home county of Carmarthenshire who have been battling for years for improved broadband services.

The news service, part of a pilot announced last year called Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNCs), was cancelled by the new Tory-Lib Dem government last month.

In the House of Commons, Mr Edwards and the UK Business Minister, Mark Prisk, also paid tribute to the Economic Renewal Programme launched this week by the Welsh Government and the successes of the One Wales Government which celebrates its third anniversary this month.

Mr Edwards said:

“Last month, the Tory-Lib Dem Government cancelled a Welsh news service pilot, promising that the money would instead go to a high-speed broadband network.

“Money that was due to be spent in Wales is now going to be spent elsewhere.

“We are calling on the UK government to release the money that was due to be spent in Wales to the Welsh Assembly so that they can invest it themselves for the benefit of Wales, as set out in the economic renewal programme.

“Accessing broadband services in Carmarthenshire has been a long standing problem. It is an issue that I know Nerys Evans AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Ieuan Wyn Jones AM have passionately campaigned on and we have seen some notable victories. However there is still a lot that needs to be done to make sure that local county businesses and individuals are not left behind. We must never accept ‘not-spots’ as an excuse

“The Conservative Minister responding to my questions today recognised and supported the new direction of the Economic Renewal Programme and I hope that he will speak with colleagues to ensure that this money is released.

“The Holtham commission has shown that Wales is under-funded by hundreds of millions of pounds each year, and it is vital that money that was intended for Wales should be spent in Wales and not elsewhere.”

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