Poor broadband and high postal fees ‘damaging Scottish construction sector’

Scotland’s construction industry is being held back by poor broadband and high postal delivery charges, according to new research.

A total of 44% of businesses in the sector have told Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) that broadband in their area is variable or poor. The statistic is in contrast with a figure of 32% across all sectors of the economy.

CAS commissioned Accent to conduct telephone interviews with a range of SMEs in Scotland. They used a questionnaire designed to draw out how the organisation uses postal services, what they value in a postal operator, the products and services that are most important to their business, and if any improvements to the current postal services offered are necessary.

The resulting report revealed that one in five of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) told the charity they “could not function” without the postal service, with a further 72% saying the Post Office is very or fairly important to their business. However, nearly a quarter have to pay additional surcharges due to their location and 21% experience delivery delays for the same reason.

Publishing the report, CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “The success of small businesses is key to economic growth, particularly in rural areas where hospitality, agriculture and construction businesses contribute significantly to the financial health of their local community.

“But to flourish in more remote areas requires good digital connectivity and an effective postal system. One third of Scotland’s SMEs have told us that broadband is poor or ‘variable’ in their area; with this figure rising to 45% in remote or rural areas. This simply isn’t good enough if we want all regions of Scotland to prosper.

“We will be sharing this data with the UK and Scottish governments and with postal service providers to inform future policy making. Scotland needs postal and broadband services that are reliable, efficient and affordable.”

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