We are told the cost to the four South Yorkshire councils of bailing out the disastrous Digital Region project could soar beyond £50m after enormous losses were posted for the second year running.
The four councils paid out tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money last year to prop up the ailing project, as they were forced to slash spending on front-line services.
The councils have also now been forced to write off the multi-million pound set-up loans made in 2009, after accepting the money will never be repaid.
The £27m EU grant may also have to be returned because the scheme has failed to meet its objectives agreed with Brussels.
Amidst all this catastrophic collapse, the Digital Region CEO insists in his misplaced arrogance that despite the project’s difficulties, it has given South Yorkshire ‘the best superfast broadband coverage in the UK.’
I would point out this is not so.
The people of neighbouring East Yorkshire have the fastest broadband in the UK (100Mbps), provided by private-sector KC at no cost to the taxpayer.
The long-suffering citizens of South Yorkshire, meanwhile, have paid out £90m for no result and nothing to show.
Whatever infrastructure and assets have been accumulated by the project will now be sold off to the highest bidder at a tiny fraction of the true cost.
Remember Supertram and Sheffield City Airport.
Neville Martin, Castledine Gardens, Sheffield S9