Tag Archives: south

Dame Anne Urges Government Rethink

MP for Aberdeen South, Dame Anne Begg is calling for a review of funding criteria to prevent Aberdeen losing out on £6.5 million. Despite successfully bidding for funding from the Urban Broadband Fund 2 (UBF2), Aberdeen City and Shire could potentially lose out due to a lack of agreement over funding criteria.

Dame Anne has, therefore, written to the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport asking her to alter the criteria to allow both local authorities to access the £6.5 million and deliver a world class fibre optic broadband infrastructure for the region.

Dame Anne said: “Aberdeen is a dynamic and vibrant city, a world leader in innovative technology, and the UK powerhouse for oil and gas production. Yet, potential development is being threatened by poor broadband speed.

“As a strong supporter of the bid for UBF2 funding, I was thrilled when we were successful following the immense amount of hard work and effort that went into our campaign. I continue to receive a number of phone calls from constituents still complaining of poor broadband speeds and I am both disappointed and frustrated by the slow progress in developing super fast broadband for everyone in the region. Not only are big companies being held back by limited broadband speeds, SMEs, which are vital components of the oil and gas supply chain are also suffering.

“I am therefore calling on the government to alter the funding criteria to ensure that Aberdeen City and Shire have the opportunity to really benefit from this money.”

Aberdeen City and Shire Councils are proposing a joint venture which would see a fibre based broadband infrastructure built across the North East boosting the local economy and providing a long term income stream for both authorities. However, a lack of agreement between DCMS and the European Commission indicates that the joint digital strategy proposed by the two local authorities is unlikely to meet the current criteria.

Dame Anne stated: “It appears that any funds released would have to be spent on either demand stimulation or vouchers for SMEs, neither of which is required in this area as Aberdeen City and Shire have the highest and second highest rates of broadband uptake in the UK. However, it is clear that what is required here in the North East is a world class fibre based infrastructure in order for us to fully realise our potential.”

The UBF2, also known as the Super Connected Cities Fund, was announced by the UK government in early 2012. In December 2012, Aberdeen was announced as one of twelve cities across the UK to be awarded a share of £50 million in order to provide homes and businesses with fibre optic broadband and high speed wireless Internet access.

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Money to be invested in Aberdeen to improve broadband access

Dame Anne has welcomed the announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement that Aberdeen will be one of the cities to benefit from a scheme investing £50 million to improve broadband access.

She said: “Despite Aberdeen being an economic powerhouse of the UK, some areas in the city still suffer from very poor broadband connections.

“Therefore, I welcome today’s announcement that money is to be invested to improve broadband access. This recognises the importance of Aberdeen to the wider UK economy.”

Dame Anne backs fight against Breast Cancer and wants constituents to join her

Dame Anne is backing the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s award winning fundraiser, wear it pink day – and she wants constituents to join her.

Dame Anne Begg MP - Wear it Pink Breast Cancer
Dame Anne Begg MP – Wear it Pink Breast Cancer

Now in its 10th year, wear it pink, on Friday 26th October 2012 will see supporters from all over the country in schools, colleges and businesses embracing the event’s new theme, superheroes. The theme stems from the charity’s belief that everybody who joins the fight – from people affected by breast cancer, to Breast Cancer Campaign scientists and all wear it pink participants – is a superhero.

Breast Cancer Campaign is asking everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2.00, whether it’s a superhero cape, pink socks or pink pants you wear over your tights, you can help the charity achieve its target of raising £2 million, so they can continue to fund ground-breaking research.

Join the hundreds of thousands of people who take part in wear it pink every year. With your help Breast Cancer Campaign can improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.

Dame Anne Begg MP says “Every year in the UK, around 48,000 women and 340 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why we all need to support wear it pink day on 26th October, so that Breast Cancer Campaign can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure.”

To take part in the UK’s original and best pink day visit wearitpink.co.uk and register to receive your free fundraising pack now. Vanish is backing the fight against breast cancer for the third year running by raising an incredible £250,000 for wear it pink.

Aberdeen South broadband problems highlighted in Parliament

Also in Friday’s Department of Culture Media and Sport questions, Dame Anne quizzed Edward Vaizey (Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport) over broadband provisions for Aberdeen South:

“Many of my constituents cannot even get moderately fast broadband. They are therefore desperate for the introduction of superfast broadband, but 2015 is too far away. Aberdeen will be bidding to become one of the superfast cities. Can the Secretary of State give us an assurance that the criteria will include not only ease of installation and density of population but factors such as the industries that will depend on having superfast broadband? Aberdeen is an important economic driver in the north-east of Scotland.”