Push for more broadband funding

Anne-Marie Trevelyan with Sajid Javid.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan with Sajid Javid.

The Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick has taken her Broadband 4 Northumberland campaign to the Government in a bid to secure extra cash for Northumberland.

During a meeting with Secretary of State Sajid Javid, at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Anne-Marie Trevelyan raised concerns that the £650,000 awarded to Northumberland in the latest round of the Government’s broadband funding will not be enough to reach the most rural parts of north and west Northumberland.

She was impressed by the Minister’s support for the project nationwide and his determination to ensure that the hard-to-reach places were properly supported.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has led a broadband campaign in Northumberland for many years and, in addition to the face-to-face meeting, has also put her concerns in writing to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, asking to clarify the current funding criteria and if there are any other funding opportunities for Northumberland.

In her letter, she said: “In order to reach the very large geographical area of north and west Northumberland, the costs and practical logistics are going to be substantial. If we are not adequately supported then those areas will be left out in the cold, at a time when broadband is as important to a household, student or business as electricity and running water.”

Anne-Marie added: “My meeting at the Department for Culture Media and Sport has taken the issues of broadband in Northumberland to Westminster and we continue to keep up the pressure with our local campaign to deliver a better deal to households and businesses in this area.

“I am very encouraged to hear from Northumberland County Council that Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), following my meeting, has agreed to put £2million towards the next round of funding and I hope that the councillors will match-fund this further BDUK cash and be as speedy as possible in rolling out the bid process so that BT and/or other providers can have a chance to bid for the work. Every month that goes by without broadband is a problem for families and businesses in our most rural areas.”

Anyone wishing to know more about the broadband campaign, or to raise their own concerns, can do so on the website.