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MP accuses Conservatives of fobbing off local communities over tax rise on B4RN

March 1, 2019 10:54 AM

Tim Farron with digger and wall B4RNSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has slammed the Conservative Government for reneging on their promise to review their decision to scrap tax relief on a scheme which helps to bring high speed broadband to rural areas in South Cumbria.

Back in January, the Chancellor pledged to look into the decision to stop investors in Community Benefit Societies like Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) from receiving 30% tax relief, following a question from Tim in the House of Commons.

Tim recently wrote to the Government explaining the importance of B4RN to rural communities in Cumbria.

But in response Tim received a very short reply back, not from Philip Hammond but from HMRC, saying that they would not comment on a private company's affairs and made no mention of either the Chancellor or any forthcoming review.

Tim has now written to the Chancellor again urging him to personally intervene.

In his letter to the Chancellor, Tim said: "B4RN have worked absolute wonders to provide some of the fastest internet speeds in the country to some of our most rural communities, reaching parts of Cumbria and Lancashire that the Government and BT couldn't or wouldn't reach.

"Therefore, to disincentivise people from investing in B4RN will clearly damage the delivery of high-speed connectivity in rural areas.

"I am astonished that you could condone this decision which might overturn the capacity of B4RN to deliver your policy on rural broadband at minimal cost to the Government.

"This policy, which would seem to have been made by HMRC on the hoof, MUST be reviewed and then reversed."