In the news this week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), an organisation which represents small and medium sized businesses, has claimed that the UK’s broadband is simply not good enough. They point out that whilst residential broadband is improving, access for businesses is seriously lagging behind.
The report found that 94% of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection to be critical to the success of their business.
The FSB have recognised what I have been saying for a long time; inadequate broadband is a major problem and is holding businesses back. Especially In Yorkshire.
I have been contacted by local businesses in Kettlethorpe and Featherstone regarding the inadequacy of broadband available to them, in this day and age we should not see businesses having to take on less work, or work from home due to slow internet speeds.
While we have been told that Superfast West Yorkshire is due to be implemented in the area in autumn, frankly, it is taking far too long and work is being lost.
Digital exclusion is a real problem in our area, not only does it hold businesses back, it curbs investment and employment opportunities.
Featherstone, along with other parts of my constituency, suffer from higher than average unemployment rates, especially among young people. I was instrumental in getting funds to establish the Green Lane Industrial park and it is wrong that now business have committed to the area they are being held back by an inadequate broadband speed.
I am therefore currently in the process of questioning the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about when Superfast West Yorkshire will be when implemented and over what they are doing to support small businesses who report losses due to inadequate speeds.