In his Budget statement today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced the cities that will receive a share of the 100 Million pounds he is investing to meet an “ambition to make the UK the technology hub
of Europe”. By 2015 this will deliver ultrafast broadband coverage to 1.7 million households and 200,000 businesses in high growth areas as well as high speed wireless broadband for three million residents.
Cool. But ..
The money is going to Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle so they can become super-connected cities.
What about Nottingham?
Well, the Government will also provide an additional £50 million to fund a second wave of ten smaller super-connected cities. Maybe Nottingham can get a share of the small change.
But Nottingham is bigger than all of Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Newcastle. Or it is when you look at the whole metropolitan city and don’t just look at the bit of it called the City of Nottingham.
So long as governments and others think of Nottingham as a smaller city with a population of fewer than 300,000 rather than a bigger city with a population of more than 600,000 then Nottingham will keep missing out on its fair share.
And so will the people who live there.
Those who run the city now will never move to create a metropolitan Nottingham; it’s not in their political interest.
On the other hand creating a metropolitan Nottingham could well be in the political interest of an independently elected mayor.
And a metropolitan Nottingham would be a good thing.
Not least when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has his wallet out.
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