Chancellor’s Budget to invest in UK e-commerce
|22 Mar 2012 11:35 GMT||Back|
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Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Government is to invest in the UK’s e-commerce sector by spending £100m on developing ultrafast broadband and Wi-Fi in 10 major cities.
Osborne said London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bristol, Bradford and Cardiff will bid for their share of £100m ‘super-connected cities’ subsidy, aimed at ensuring universal access to 100 Megabit per second internet links. Smaller towns were also promised a further £50m of investment for the first time.
By 2015 the money will deliver ultrafast broadband coverage to 1.7m households and 200,000 businesses in high growth areas as well as high-speed wireless broadband for three million residents, the Treasury says.
The Chancellor’s pledge follows the publication of a report earlier this week that reveals the UK is now leading the world in the e-commerce stakes, with the sector now contributing 10.9%, or £121bn, to the UK economy – the highest per capita proportion of all G20 countries. If the internet were a traditional sector, the report says, it would be bigger than UK construction, education or the utilities.
Caroline Roberts, director of public and legal affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, says that the Chancellor’s budget will be cautiously welcomed by the UK marketing industry:
“The Budget will bring some relief to UK businesses. The cut in corporation tax from 26% to 24% and the creation of new enterprise zones will certainly be a boon to the marketing industry. The investment delivering ultrafast broadband to millions of households will also be seen as a welcome move for companies that are doing more and more business with their customers online.”
An ‘at a glance’ summary of the Budget can read here.