In a debate in Parliament Mark has attacked the buck passing by Government and broadband providers that is denying numerous properties in Edinburgh access to superfast broadband that is vital to the city’s economic future.
Mark’s speech can be found here. Afterwards, he commented:
“I am repeatedly contacted by constituents living in different parts of my constituency ranging from the City Centre to North Edinburgh and the waterfront area who can’t get access to superfast broadband.
“It’s a vital part of economic infrastructure for businesses, the many people working from home as well as for anyone to access information and government services.
“Sometimes, developers may not install cable when converting or building properties but then the broadband provider won’t connect them either because of the cost.
“The Government says it won’t provide public funding where superfast broadband can be provided commercially but broadband providers won’t do it because they say it is not commercial for them to do so.
“It’s high time broadband providers and the UK and Scottish Governments took action: if private providers won’t tackle the notspots Government must act because it is too important to Edinburgh’s economy to leave people in our city unable to access superfast broadband.”
Mark has raised this issue in Parliament on a number of occasions but the Government has simply pointed to the funding it is providing with the Scottish Government following suit in highlighting its partnership with BT in rolling out access.
The UK Government’s target is superfast broadband should be available to 95% of properties by 2017 but there is no statutory obligation for developers to install broadband cable in new build properties let alone converted buildings.
In a debate in Parliament Mark has attacked the buck passing by Government and broadband providers that is denying numerous properties in Edinburgh access to superfast broadband that is vital...
Speaking in a debate in Parliament called by Labour on tax avoidance, Mark attacked Government denial of responsibility for tackling the systematic abuse now revealed at HSBC in Switzerland with clients being helped to conceal so-called "black accounts" from tax authorities and collusion with corruption.
You can find Mark’s speech here. Afterwards he said:
"The Government denies any responsibility for tackling systematic tax fraud of the kind recently revealed at HSBC: simply passing the buck to Revenue and Customs won't do.
"We will not rebuild trust in politics if a party is prepared to accept funding from hedge funds and individuals whose attitude to tax avoidance is that everybody does it whilst insisting there is no alternative to austerity that forces people to turn to food banks.
"I know there are decent people in Edinburgh who work for banks and insurance companies, on counters and in back offices: like me they will be angry at the crime and corruption that tarnishes their industry:
"We need new anti-tax dodging legislation: paying tax is a basic duty of every citizen to fund the services, the hospitals, schools, we all depend on: tax cheats must be prosecuted with the full force of the law."
Ed Miliband has attacked the Prime Minister strongly after revelations that the Conservative party has accepted donations from hedge funds and individuals involved in tax avoidance.
Labour would use the proceeds from a genuine crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion to fund a compulsory jobs guarantee for any young person out of work for a year or more.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament called by Labour on tax avoidance, Mark attacked Government denial of responsibility for tackling the systematic abuse now revealed at HSBC in Switzerland with...
Speaking in a debate at Westminster, Mark highlighted the need for compensation to Equitable Life members to be increased and greatly speeded up to reflect the reality that many of those who lost out as a result of the maladministration are now advanced in age.
Mark’s intervention in the debate can be found here. Afterwards, he commented:
“Under the current scheme, the vast majority of Equitable Life policyholders will only receive less than a quarter – 22.4p in the £ - of what they lost after investing in what was to all appearances a safe, well-established and regulated scheme: it was anything but.
“I want to see the compensation properly reflect what all policyholders lost and be speeded up: the Government should act in the upcoming Budget.
“These were people who tried to make provision for their retirement and they should receive compensation while they can benefit from it: many who lost out have already died before receiving anything at all.
“This highlights why it’s also such a concern that the Government is so behind schedule in providing advice to people on how to make use of the new freedom to take some or all of their pension pot early.”
Even though official estimates of the losses suffered by policyholders at Equitable Life put the total figure at £4.3 billion, the Chancellor allocated only £1.5 billion in October 2010.
That has to cover the cost of administering the scheme and the £620m for full compensation to be paid to the 37,000 holders of with-profits annuities leaving the rest to be shared out amongst the remaining 945,000 policy holders.
Speaking in a debate at Westminster, Mark highlighted the need for compensation to Equitable Life members to be increased and greatly speeded up to reflect the reality that many of...
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