Business Leaders Tell UK Government to Spend More on Broadband - ISPreview UK
The Government’s Chancellor is currently preparing a second “emergency” Budget 2015 for 8th July 2015 and as such the Institute of Directors (IoD), which represents 34,500 business leaders and directors, has used that as an opportunity to call for more spending on infrastructure, with broadband connectivity top of the list.

Apparently the IoD conducted a survey with 1,211 of its members, which found that 47% wanted Infrastructure (roads, rail, Internet etc.) to be the new Conservative dominated government’s top priority (Education came 2nd with 40% and Health trailed on 36%).

The respondents were then asked which aspects of our national Infrastructure should be prioritised over the next five years and 56% voted for high-speed broadband, which was followed by energy generation, railways, roads and finally airports.

Simon Walker, IoD Boss, said:

The election result was more decisive than most expected, and now is the time for the new government to take decisive action. … Britain needs broadband cables, runways, railways and power, and we are looking to the government to deliver them.

Building a modern infrastructure network will help businesses move goods, people, products and services around the world, giving small and medium-sized companies the best chance to succeed, scale up and compete on the global stage
The survey also found that around nine out of ten of respondents supported moves to clampdown on tax avoidance and half were strongly opposed to tax rises, particular in terms of National Insurance, Income Tax, VAT and business rates etc. Well nobody “likes” tax rises do they. On top of that the IoD’s members also want more spending cuts and for the budget to run at a surplus as planned.

At this stage we still don’t know precisely what will be in the second Budget 2015 speech (except for more spending cuts), but we’d hope to see more detail on some of the broadband related announcements from George Osborne’s first speech (Budget 2015 – Broadband Details).

In the first budget we were told to expect support for a roll-out of “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) broadband to “nearly all premises” (so far this only appears to be in the form of supporting commercial deployments via the UK Guarantees Scheme), the possibility of a 5Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) and more radio spectrum for mobile broadband.

However one fear is that forcing more spending cuts, particularly any that apply to the country’s already stretched local authorities, might make it significantly more difficult for councils to find additional funding to match with allocations from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme.

The Local Enterprise Partnerships (Local Growth Deals) are perhaps one way to help (we expect more funding to be released through them over the next 5 years), but it’s still going to be a tough road to reach the final 5% and improve broadband performance for everybody.