Labour’s plan to nationalise Britain’s broadband network would place tens of thousands of jobs in Reading at risk, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Reading East has announced.
Craig Morley, who is standing in the General Election, has argued that the policy of nationalising BT’s Openreach could cost jobs at the expense of taxpayers.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced that a Labour government would take the full-fibre network into public ownership and provide broadband free to every home, by taxing tech companies such as the many who are employers in Reading and across the Thames Valley.
However, Mr Morley has argued that the policy would force poorer families to pay for free broadband for well-off households.
Labour would make other broadband providers join the nationalised corporation - risking the jobs of more than 1.4million people working in the Information and Communications industry across the UK.
At the same time, the party’s proposed tax on tech companies would disproportionately affect the 13,000 people in Reading East who are employed in Information and Communication roles.
BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen, has warned that Labour’s plans could cost taxpayers more than £100bn.
Mr Morley said:
“This ideological grab planned by Labour would do nothing to improve broadband connectivity, but would instead punish hard-working taxpayers while rewarding the well-off who can already afford broadband.
“The Conservative Government has already pledged £5bn to bring full-fibre broadband to every home by 2025 by working with BT and other existing providers.
“Major internet provider groups have warned that Labour’s proposals would undermine existing investment and delay the roll-out of high-speed broadband for years - not to mention jeopardising more than 600 companies that use broadband infrastructure to connect their customers.
“Reading East can’t afford the debt and delay of a Labour government, and I would urge local people to back the Conservatives on 12th December.”