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New Local Government Finance Bill Introduced to Help UK Get 5G Ready

techUK welcomes new funding proposals on fibre but calls on Government to put in place right incentives for next generation infrastructure investment.

Last week the Government introduced a new Local Government Finance Bill as part of its plans to get the UK ready for deeper fibre and 5G networks.

The Bill forms part of the £1 billion package of measures announced by the Government in the Autumn Statement 2016 to cut business rates for small businesses and introduces a tax break to telecoms networks for up to five years on the new infrastructure they lay for full fibre broadband. The tax relief will not apply to existing infrastructure, an incentive to encourage fibre going directly to premises.

The Bill also lays the foundation for councils to be self-sufficient by 2020 by keeping one hundred percent of their business rates by then.

techUK is fully behind ensuring our communications infrastructure continually improves and remains world class. Ultimately, this can only be achieved if the incentives for industry to invest in such infrastructure is maximised, with minimising costs as a key element in this. techUK welcomes the Government’s funding proposals on fibre and is encouraged by the ongoing commitment to 5G rollout. We welcome the tax break for the roll out of new full fibre infrastructure but are concerned by the much larger increase in business rates for existing broadband infrastructure. We therefore call on Government to ensure that the overall business rate framework does not create disincentives for the full range of (old and new) communications infrastructure needed to maintain high quality ubiquitous UK connectivity. 

A key benefit of achieving high quality and ubiquitous connectivity is crucial to driving local economic growth, enhancing the lives of local communities and improved opportunities and productivity for local businesses.

techUK is committed to playing its part and will work with partners in Local Government to pave the way for high quality connectivity in localities. On 27 March we are holding an industry and Local Government roundtable looking at the issues highlighted above. For further information on how to get involved in this please contact Raj Sivalingam or Georgina Maratheftis.


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