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Friday, 22 August 2014

Chancellor misses out Carlisle from broadband funding because it is too small.

 Carlisle is missing out on funding for superfast broadband today because it is too small.

Chancellor George Osborne said in the Autumn Statement today that he was making £50m available to help 12 “smaller” cities: Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, York, Newport, Aberdeen, Perth and Londonderry.

It is the second wave of funding this year to help UK cities but Carlisle is missing out because it does not meet the criteria because of its size.

Carlisle failure to be included in the shortlist ahead of today's announcement is frustrating for Carlisle MP John Stevenson who had lobbied for the rules to be amended to include Carlisle.

It leaves open the possibility that Carlisle will miss out on the £51m project to supply rural broadband to Cumbria AND also miss out on the parallel scheme to fund broadband to cities.

Recently businesses such as System Group in Carlisle have complained that their broadband needs are not high enough up the broadband agenda.

Mr Stevenson said: "We don't meet the criteria because we are a small city and I will again lobby the Government to widen the criteria.

"We have to make sure that Carlisle is not forgotten."

He added focus would now shift to talks with BT and businesses including business parks and other internet providers to ensure Carlisle did not lose out in the race for superfast broadband.

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