AT a time when councils are being asked to make every penny count, when town hall jobs are being cut, when local authority services are being reduced, it takes some deep soul-searching to justify pumping millions more of council tax payers’ money into setting up superfast broadband access across South Yorkshire.
For the £3.15 million investment, which comes hard on the heels of a £100 million handout of EU money, has been agreed against a background of losses at operating company Digital Region.
It is said that the cash injection will help Ditital Region more to a ‘new business model’ in the light of benefits not ‘coming through as fast as... hoped’.
All of which suggests a high risk strategy at a time when councils are being urged to be extra-careful in how they spend and invest money.
We are sure readers would like some assurances that the development of this project is based on firm evidence and not simply a wish list of progress. Councillors should not be speculating with council taxpayers’ money at the best of times, and certainly not when the financial chips are down as at present.
Join up ideas for small businesses
IT has long been accepted that the green shoots of recovery will be found among the region’s small businesses, which are able to respond more quickly to opportunities as and when they arise.
That is why we hope that notice is taken of the Federation of Small Businesses’ call for more power to be given to the body which scrutinises new Government business regulations.
The call is made after a study found that four in every 10 small businesses saw costs rising as they were forced to comply with regulations and rules, a situation which cannot be sustainable.
At the same time, local small businesses have shown that they are missing out on Government support which is meant to help them boost growth.
This suggests a need for some joined-up thinking in this area to benefit us all.
Andy’s on his way
IT could happen to anyone caught up in the euphoria of the moment: shadow health secretary Andy Burnham came to Sheffield to help launch Labour’s local election campaign and forgot which county he was in, fluffing his lines and sympathising with the plight of the ‘people of West Yorkshire’ in light of government cuts. But as any politician will tell you, it is not where they are that is important, but where they are going. We just hope Mr Burnham had a map to help him on his way.