Government announces extension to the SME Connection Voucher Schemes
In the Autumn Statement, the Government has announced that it will extend the vouchers component of the Super Connected Cities programme. The Connection Vouchers scheme allows SMEs in Super Connected Cities* to get a grant of up to £3,000 for a faster, better broadband connection.
The Government said that it was allocating up to £40 million to extend the scheme, which has already benefited 5000 SMEs, to more cities and ensure that it is open to March 2016. Whilst the new cities have not been announced the Government has said that it will look to ‘double the number of northern cities in the scheme’.
Our recent micro-business survey revealed a likely knowledge gap in small businesses’ awareness of the benefits that broadband enabled services could bring them. It is therefore encouraging that the drive to get businesses doing more online is being led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in conjunction with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – although it is clear that more could still be done to ensure that this is done through the prism of the commercial advantages that businesses would reap.
The BSG has committed to doing more work on small and micro-businesses use and demand for broadband connectivity.
More information on the voucher scheme is available here: https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk/
*The existing cities are; Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Edinburgh, Leeds and Bradford, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Nottingham, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, and York