Broadband drop in and update
I am aware that despite the extensive roll out of broadband locally, those who do not have access to it are immensely frustrated. To that end I hosted a drop in surgery in Merito, Dunlop. The venue is Scotland’s first operational community owned pub, which is now also a community facility.
It was well attended and the good news for many was that they are now in a programme for Fibre to Premises. This will then allow them to access speeds way in excess of the norm. This work is part of an ongoing package using money “clawed back” from BT – the 2017 programme had stipulations that if more people connected to superfast than was predicted, then BT had to return money to the taxpayer. So this is funding provision to additional premises.
If anyone, particularly in rural areas wish to see where they are on a programme, they can log onto a website, www.scotlandsuperfast.com/yourstreet to see if your cabinet has been enabled or is due to be. Digital Scotland at the event were able to provide additional information, so if you wish to find out more, please contact my office. One caveat is that there are a number of properties who will be included in the close out R100 programme. This is the Scottish Government commitment to provide superfast broadband to all properties by December 2021. As this programme is still being developed and subject to procurement, then exact dates cannot be predicted for those properties and at this stage, they are included within that December 2021 horizon.
With regards those who have suffered Green Deal mis-selling by the company HELMS, I have submitted a number of written parliamentary questions. I have now used those questions as evidence to call on the Secretary of State to undertake an investigation that looks at collective redress for all those affected. My key point is that this was a Government initiative that was exploited, partly because the oversight and governance was not adequate enough. Therefore, it is only right that the Government takes action to rectify matters.
I have established that 97% of those with Green Deal finance in Kilmarnock and Loudoun have loans that have a payback period of more than 20 years. If the process was explained properly I bet no-one would take a loan out for 20-25 years just to save a little money on energy. This is because the Green Deal “Golden Rule” is that energy savings in the FIRST YEAR only need to be greater than that year’s payback for it to be deemed value for money. No wonder the company went for long term loans to keep the annual repayment figures down. With such a high rate of these long term loans, then this should have caused a red flag to the governance arrangements but it didn’t. A total shambles and I will keep pursuing the UK Government. If you have been affected and not made contact with either my office or the Citizens Advise Bureau then please get in touch.