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matthew hancock official

Culture and Digital Secretary Matt Hancock has again criticised the Scottish government's progress on deploying superfast broadband.

In a letter to Scotland's Rural Economy Minister Fergus Ewing, he said the Scottish government is not on course to achieve its target of equipping every home and business with superfast broadband by 2021, the Express reports.

"It appears that the procurement process is still likely to take another year," Mr Hancock commented.

"It is a great regret that the SNP will therefore have presided another abysmal five-year delay in rolling out superfast broadband."

Mr Ewing responded by insisting that Mr Hancock's claims "do not stand up to scrutiny and have been widely discredited".

He went on to criticise the Westminster government's contribution to the £600 broadband scheme, saying it is providing just three per cent of the funding required.

"I have written to Mr Hancock to ask the UK government to contribute a more equitable share," Mr Ewing said.

"Unfortunately, he has ignored my request and chosen to repeat his inaccurate claims about broadband delivery in Scotland."

Mr Ewing added that the Scottish government's universal broadband project is the "biggest public investment" of its kind ever made in the UK and a "commitment the UK government has chosen not to match".

This comes shortly after Mr Ewing pledged to stand down if his superfast broadband targets are not met.

In a speech at the Scottish Land and Estates’ annual conference, he said he will "depart and do something else" if the government falls short on its promise.

"But I can assure you, we’re on the case," he insisted.

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