Chancellor Rishi Sunak vows to end patchy phone reception and slow broadband in rural areas with £1bn 4G deal that will see biggest boosts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announced £1billion deal with firms to boost 4G Over 280,000 properties expected to benefit from improved phone signals Biggest improvements to
Chancellor Rishi Sunak vows to end patchy phone reception and slow broadband in rural areas with £1bn 4G deal that will see biggest boosts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announced £1billion deal with firms to boost 4G
- Over 280,000 properties expected to benefit from improved phone signals
- Biggest improvements to be in rural Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
- Mr Sunak will also confirm £5billion investment for faster broadband by 2025
Rishi Sunak will vow to end patchy mobile phone reception and slow broadband in this week’s Budget.
The Chancellor will announce a £1billion deal with telecoms firms to boost 4G coverage in rural areas.
More than 280,000 properties and 10,000 miles of roads are expected to benefit from better phone signals. The biggest improvements are likely to be in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Whitehall sources said the money would ‘see poor and patchy mobile coverage become a thing of the past’.
Mr Sunak will also confirm a £5billion investment to achieve faster broadband across the UK by 2025.
Rishi Sunak will vow to end patchy mobile phone reception and slow broadband in this week’s Budget (pictured, the Chancellor having his make-up done for the Andrew Marr Show)
During December’s election the Conservatives pledged to bring full fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business in Britain within five years.
Gigabit broadband, which is 40 times faster than standard superfast broadband, will be rolled out to the hardest-to-reach 20 per cent of the country, the Treasury said.
Mr Sunak said: ‘We are committed to levelling up across every region and nation in the UK and that is why we are making the largest ever public investment into broadband. This investment delivers on our promises to the British people, boosting growth and prosperity across the country.’
Mr Sunak, who became Chancellor last month following Sajid Javid’s resignation, yesterday refused to confirm whether he will stick to the fiscal rules of the Conservative manifesto when he delivers his Budget this week.
He said that he believes ‘very much’ in the responsible management of public finances, but declined to comment on whether the Government will abide by its election pledges.
The Chancellor will announce a £1billion deal with telecoms firms to boost 4G coverage in rural areas (pictured, Mr Sunak in Downing Street, February 2020)
The Conservative manifesto for the election stated the party would not borrow to fund day-to-day spending and would ensure debt is lower in five years’ time.
Mr Sunak said he could not ‘comment on the exact forecast until Wednesday’, though he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘I believe very much in the importance of fiscal responsibility, about responsible management of our public finances.
‘It’s because there’s been very strong management of public finances over the last ten years by successive Conservative chancellors who have made some difficult decisions that means I can sit here today and say I will invest what it takes to get us through this because our public finances are in a good spot.’
Mr Sunak yesterday said around a fifth of HM Treasury staff will move to a new ‘economic campus’ in the North as part of its bid to spread prosperity throughout the country. Offices will also be opened in Northern Ireland and Wales.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: ‘We believe in making sure that wherever you live in this country there is opportunity for you.
‘That’s what levelling up means in practice, it’s not just about building a road here or a railway station there, it’s about ensuring that everyone can fulfil their dreams, so it is spreading that opportunity.
‘I want to make sure that the Treasury is at the front foot of that.’
Ministers urged to rethink three per cent stamp duty on additional homes after thousands who aren’t property developers were forced to pay extra
By Matt Oliver, City Correspondent for the Daily Mail
Ministers have been urged to reform stamp duty after a raid on second homes caught thousands of people it was not meant to target.
The 3 per cent surcharge on extra properties, introduced in 2016 by then chancellor George Osborne, was meant to help first-time buyers by deterring buy-to-let landlords and others from purchasing homes as investments.
But experts have warned that the tax – which brought in a reported £6.6billion in 2019/20, more than double the £2.9billion predicted – is ensnaring people who are not property investors.
The levy is charged on top of stamp duty. For a £500,000 second home, it would add an extra £15,000 to the £15,000 normally charged under the tax.
But analysis by estate agent Countrywide found that 31 per cent of those affected were not landlords or second home buyers.
Examples of people ensnared by the tax included a husband whose wife part-owned a family home in Brazil and parents trying to help children get their first home.
Adam Kay, tax partner at accountants Saffery Champness, said the examples were proof that the surcharge ‘isn’t working’.
But a Government spokesman said: ‘Higher rates of stamp duty on second homes mean we can afford to offer more support to first-time buyers through the stamp duty relief.’