Queen's Speech slammed by small biz
Seven minutes of slurry
Small business groups were less than impressed with Gordon Brown's fantasy list of what he would do in the unlikely event that he is re-elected as Prime Minister.
Although many were shocked at the lack of action on MPs' expenses, small business groups were unimpressed at the lack of promised action on improving internet access and speeds.
David Frost, boss of the British Chamber of Commerce said:
Universal, high-speed broadband is a crucial piece of business infrastructure that the UK badly needs. A commitment to two megabite broadband is a start, but the target could be more ambitious.
How to fund this infrastructure without financially impacting on businesses is not yet clear. A new telephone line levy will add to business costs at a time when they can least afford it.
We would prefer that the government looked again at their spending commitments and other taxes to fund what is a critical piece of investment for our future economy.
The Federation of Small Business was even less impressed. While it recognised that over half of small businesses get up to 50 per cent of turnover from their websites now, there was no support for rural firms still struggling without broadband access.
The FSB said:
We believe that a broadband tax to subsidise the target of a minimum 2mbps of broadband will only deter the private sector from improving its own infrastructure. Small businesses shouldn't have to pay for a service which could be encouraged by opening up the market to more competition from internet providers, who should then be compelled to install more efficient and effective speeds to attract the consumer.
John Walker, national policy chairman of the FSB, said it had been a grim year for many companies, and banks were only just starting to restart lending. He said legislation over the next few months should focus on supporting these few sparks of confidence rather than score political points. ®
Either it's Bits or Bytes. 2Mbps (bits) is a lame target. 2 MBps (Bytes) is decent, being 16 Mbs.
Clearly they wanted to say bits, but sound like bytes, so, yeah, it's a soundbite.
@call me scruffy
Actually Blair said 'Our new strategy will focus on driving up access in key categories in the NHS, education, transport, benefits, tax and criminal justice' which, to be fair happened, and he didn't want to redesignate broadband as 128k and above, he said if you can't get broadband then they should be able to get 128Kbps (like me, couldn't get broadband but got dual channel ISDN instead, lower latency than broadband just less bandwith, fine unless you're a big downloader).
Oh and don't dis' the great unwashed, in this great big pyramid sale that is an overpopulated democracy, without the great unwashed kept on the breadline, starved of ambition and education you would have 10 times the people competing for your job and that would drive your self esteem and salary down.
@Anonymous Coward @14:54
Not as out of date as you think I am: