Proposals to improve broadband connectivity, freeze fuel duty and allow farmers to average their income over five years, will ensure that hard working rural families feel the benefits of the countryside-friendly budget announced yesterday (18 March). The Chancellor announced measures to support broadband delivery; including a boost for satellite broadband, ultra-fast broadband (100mbps) for nearly all homes, the expansion of the Super Connected Cities voucher scheme and a proposal for a Universal Service Obligation, which will mean that those households and businesses that have not benefited from a reliable broadband connection will be able to be part of this digital revolution.
We also welcome the announcement by the Chancellor to open up new spectrum to expand mobile phone coverage. This should be a significant step forward for the countryside.
The Chancellor has also announced that the planned rise in fuel duty in September will be postponed. This is great news for rural motorists, who pay 25% more for their commute on average, and will mean a saving of around £10 a tank. Coupled with the rural fuel rebate scheme, rolled out earlier this year to a small number of the most remote areas, rural motorists will be feeling the benefits at the pump.