Ripon MP Julian Smith has urged the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spelman to back the county’s bid to be a Rural Growth Network pilot.
The Secretary of State was invited by Mr Smth to see the progress being made on broadband and launch the Go On North Yorkshire campaign.
During the visit to the Oakwood Business Centre in Bishop Thornton, Caroline Spelman was also asked to back the Rural Growth Network pilot proposed by the North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The aim of the bid, which is being led by North Yorkshire Country Council working with a range of partners including NYNet its broadband company, is to connect businesses in rural communities across North Yorkshire, give them superfast broadband, access to business support and promote a culture of enterprise.
“On her visit, the Secretary of State spoke about the importance of making sure rural businesses have the best possible support and the same opportunities as firms in urban areas,” said Mr Smith.
“That is why I am encouraging her to back North Yorkshire’s bid to have a Rural Growth Network in the county.
“ I believe it would help stimulate growth and encourage more businesses to set-up and move to this part of the country.”
Caroline Spelman said: “Getting superfast broadband to rural areas in North Yorkshire will make a vast difference to local people and businesses and how they communicate with the online world.
“The business centre in Bishop Thornton is a perfect example of how access to broadband can transform Yorkshire businesses.
“We’re investing £165m to unlock the economic potential of rural areas – and devoting £20m to get broadband to the remotest areas.”
Barry Dodd, chairman of the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Businesses consistently tell us access to broadband is one of the major barriers to growth. That is why the Local Enterprise Partnership is working with this programme to make the most of the business benefits. This type of good quality internet access is also central to our bid to Government for a Rural Growth Network.”
County councillor John Weighell, North Yorkshire’s leader said: “We are the largest rural county in the country but we are determined through these campaigns to place ourselves at the forefront of rural enterprise.”