Whilst David “dial-up” Cameron’s plans to roll out superfast broadband are still buffering in rural areas like Herefordshire and Shropshire – this month the EU pushed ahead on plans for a Single Digital Market.
Online shopping is sector in the UK and it makes your lives easier, helps SMEs and Big Businesses grow and ultimately puts more money into our economy.
That’s one of the main motives behind the Digital Single Market Agenda that MEPs were discussing this month in Strasburg
Every day 315 million people across the EU access the internet – over 39 million of whom are here in the UK.
Whether that’s for online shopping, keeping in touch with family and friends or running their businesses and doing their jobs – the digital revolution is transforming every aspect of our lives.
Yet there are still barriers which stop people and businesses across the UK from getting the full advantages of the growth of the internet.
Businesses face barriers when they wish to trade across borders in the EU –with costs upto to £7000- extra in costs to trade across the channel or even with their neighbouring countries
Consumers face barriers when trying to shop online – with high delivery charges, transaction costs and inconvenient returns limiting their options.
Thousands of people who access music and videos online face barriers when their options are limited by geographical location.
These are the barriers we must push down - and just as we fought hard to abolish roaming charges – we will fight just as hard to create the Digital Single Market
Because we know up to 308 billion pounds in growth could be generated
We know there is potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs that could be created by making these changes.
We know we need to help European companies to tackle this market and take on the big US firms to leaders in new digital services
But we also know that the European Parliament and European Governments have to work hard and co-operate to get this done.
In the UK connecting people with high speed internet has been far too slow - especially in rural areas like Shropshire and Hereforshire – where David Cameron’s empty promises may be too little too late for business owners.
We are seeing politics get in the way of delivering people the services they need – leaving the future for 5G services uncertain across the continent.
MEPs will continue to work hard to make sure that accessing digital services and markets is easier, cheaper and more convenient.
But all of these changes could mean nothing for the nearly 4 million people in the West Midlands who use the internet if we leave the EU.
This is an ambitious agenda that is being taken on by the European Parliament and if we left the EU we could be left out of planning these changes.
Meaning we could be left out of receiving the benefits.
Meaning less growth for economy, less oppurtunites for our businesses and more hassle for our consumers.
But we need to make sure that his programme is inclusive and everyone, including the elderly, disabled are given the access they deserve.
Keep a look out for more updates on this issue in the coming months.
Time and time again we have seen the EU serves your interests and as your MEP I will continue to make sure your voices are heard.