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Business Growth (Medway)

Volume 578: debated on Tuesday 25 March 2014

As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins), I have read the draft strategic economic plan produced by South East local enterprise partnership and had a very helpful feedback session with the LEP. I am particularly encouraged by the extensive proposals for supporting small businesses, which I know are particularly important in Medway.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that many businesses now rely on internet connectivity, and will he welcome the initiative in Medway to provide free wi-fi throughout the area, benefiting economic growth and improving the public’s access to the internet?

I do support that. It is very important that small businesses should have access to good internet connections. It is right to point out that even in our big cities and urban areas where connections are available, they are not comprehensive enough: about 5% of premises in urban areas cannot be connected to a high-speed connection. That is a very important feature to be corrected and I hope the local growth deal will do so.