Bishop of Peterborough highlights rural deprivation

On 25th March 2015 Lord Phillips of Sudbury asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they would establish a Royal Commission to investigate threats to community life in the United Kingdom and their effects; and to recommend counter-measures. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a supplementary quesion:

14.02 PeterboroughThe Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, community life struggles and suffers very much in rural areas as well as in urban areas. While welcoming the promise of a 95% rollout of superfast broadband, does the Minister appreciate that the other 5% represents more than 3 million people who are almost all in rural areas and will not have access to superfast broadband or, all too often, to post offices, gas supplies, public transport, local schools and so on? Is this not the time to have a royal commission?

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Lords Spokesperson, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills): My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is correct when he says that some of the infrastructure in rural communities, such as shops, schools, and post offices in particular, is their lifeblood. I commend the rural communities in, for example, Cumbria that have done their own social action project to make sure that broadband gets to their communities. The right reverend Prelate is right that the remaining 5% of the population do not having superfast broadband, but the Government are working on that.