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Govt mulling boost to Plymouth broadband connectivity
Planning Minister Greg Clark has said Broadband Delivery UK will work closely with Plymouth on its broadband plans.The government is set to consider additional funding to improve broadband connectivity in Plymouth after the south coast city missed out on being granted an enterprise zone (EZ).
City officials argued the EZ could create 7,000 jobs and requested an audience with Decentralisation, Cities and Planning Minister Greg Clark after missing out, reports the Plymouth Herald.
Acknowledging that Plymouth has serious issues relating to broadband provision, low wages and high levels of public sector employment, Mr Clark promised he will urge Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure Broadband Delivery UK works more closely with the city.
Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, had backed the EZ campaign and revealed she had been told the bid was strong, but competition was tough due to the high standard of applications put forward by local enterprise partnerships.
"We left Mr Clark with no doubt that not getting an EZ was a missed opportunity for the government," she explained. "Plymouth would have delivered many more jobs than some other EZ proposals that I am aware of."
Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Oliver Colvile described the meeting with Mr Clark as "positive" and welcomed his suggestion that the coalition would back any 'enterprise area' proposals formulated by the city.
Ted Fry, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic growth, added Plymouth has the potential to become a leading location for businesses.
"The meeting with the minister and our MPs showed there is no reason for us to be deterred by not getting an EZ," he remarked.
In August, the government announced 11 new EZs across England as part of its plan to boost local economies, with the project expected to create more than 30,000 jobs.
Businesses that choose to set up in each selected area will receive access to super-fast broadband, as well as tax breaks and simplified planning rules over the next four years.