Millions of pounds are to be handed directly to Scottish councils for a new roll-out of fibre broadband because the UK Government is “fed up” with the SNP’s “poor performance”, the UK’s Digital Minister has said. Matthew Hancock told the Telegraph that Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK for superfast broadband because the Scottish Government has been “sitting on UK taxpayers’ cash since 2014.”
Hancock said English councils had performed better because they “have got on with delivering instead of playing politics with independence” and he will use a visit to Scotland on Monday to try and get the SNP administration “up to speed.” He said that while Scotland had yet to sign the contracts for the second phase of the broadband rollout, local authorities in England are already planning for the third phase.
Hancock said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should stop “getting shouty on Twitter” and insisted the Scottish Government was “three years behind” the rest of the country. Following an announcement by the Chancellor in this week’s Budget, he said Scottish councils will be able to bid directly for funding from a new £190m programme to speed up the roll-out of full 5G fibre networks.