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Schools should be granted funding in order to pay for broadband services, according to an MP.

Geoffrey Cox, who represents Torridge & West Devon, made the comment on a recent visit to schools in the area, when he learnt that changes in funding allowances mean they must pay broadband through their own capital.

The change in May also means many may be facing budget deficits, as the majority of schools had set their three-year budget plans beforehand.

Mr Cox said: "The cost for a small rural school is likely to be around £6,000 per year - the equivalent of a part-time teaching assistant."

He added that the issue was "another severe blow" to schools in rural areas and revealed he has written to education minister Ed Balls about it.

Last month, TalkTalk recognised a scheme in Derbyshire where older people visit local schools to learn more about IT from pupils.

Gill Farrington, who organised the scheme, was named the UK Digital Hero for 2009 by the company.

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