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Government expands ultrafast broadband to 12 more UK cities

05 Dec 2012
George Osborne

The government has announced a £5bn infrastructure spending plan that will include the expansion of ultrafast broadband to 12 UK cities.

The plans were revealed in chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement delivered to the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

Following a competitive bid process, the selected "smaller" cities will benefit from a total of £50m of the infrastructure spending.

The cities comprise Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, York, Newport, Londonderry, Aberdeen and Perth.

The above are in addition to 10 of the UK's largest cities, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh, that have already been given £114m to the fund the rollout of ultrafast broadband.

Much of the infrastructure investment will come from welfare cuts and further cuts to Whitehall departmental budgets. Osborne urged government departments to make greater use of digital channels, while reducing office space, and said that such moves could save the tax payer £1bn.

Osborne also said HMRC would be the only government department to be given increased funds and this would be partly in order to help the department chase down companies evading corporation tax.

In the past few weeks, headlines have focused on Starbucks, Amazon and Google not paying their fair share of corporation tax. Since Starbucks has backed down, it is now only the latter two technology companies that are under fire for their accounting practices.

"We want the most competitive corporate tax system in the world," said Osborne in his speech.

"And we expect corporate taxes to be paid."

Osborne also offered good news to the start-up sector by offering business tax cuts and £1.5bn in loans to finace small firms' exports.

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