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MP challenges Chancellor over ‘tax rise’ on B4RN funding

January 30, 2019 4:23 PM

Tim Farron with digger and wall B4RNOn the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron challenged the Chancellor to reverse the decision to remove tax relief from investments into the infrastructure for B4RN.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim said: "World class connectivity is vital to tackling the deficit.

"But the Treasury's decision to stop investors in Community Benefit Societies receiving 30% tax relief could undermine the good work of broadband pioneers such as B4RN in Cumbria.

"Given that B4RN has reached the parts of Cumbria that Government and BT couldn't or wouldn't reach, what assessment has the Chancellor made of the effect of this decision on B4RN and would he rethink this damaging proposal."

In response the Chancellor, Philip Hammond said that the Government wanted to "encourage the delivery of high-speed connectivity in all areas including rural areas" and that if Tim would like to write to him he'd be "very happy to look at it and get back to him".

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "B4RN have worked absolute wonders providing some of the fastest internet speeds in the country to some of our most rural communities.

"The Government's nonsensical decision to make it less attractive for people to invest into B4RN could be bad news for local people and businesses.

"The Chancellor must reverse this decision now."