Slow broadband remains challenging for Moray and Highlands workers

SLOW BROADBAND REMAINS one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in Moray and throughout the Highlands and Islands.

That is one of the findings in a survey being highlighted by regional MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston this week – and one that stands firmly in the way of people working in the flexible manner enjoyed in other parts of the country.

The MSP was pointed out in a Holyrood debate that only 11.6% of jobs in his constituency paying over £20,000 were advertised as offering flexible working.

He said: “Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are slightly below average in offering flexible working to new employees. This is despite the UK Government creating a legal right for all employees to request flexible working arrangements.

“It is clear that there are barriers to delivering flexible working, particularly in rural areas. Broadband is one such concern and roll-out continues to be problematic in many parts of our region. Flexible working can make an enormous difference to people and it is right that we encourage both the UK and Scottish Governments to continue their work in encouraging it.”

During the debate at the Scottish Parliament Mr Halcro Johnston told MSP’s: “There are certainly challenges in many rural areas around Scotland for businesses to deliver flexible working.

“Last year, the Institute of Directors survey noted that half of members would be more inclined to offer flexibility in working arrangements if there was a greater availability of fast, reliable broadband.

“We know that parts of the Highlands and Islands region are comparatively low-paid and have lower-than-average levels of professional jobs available. Flexible working could well prove a benefit to a region like ours, making it an increasingly attractive place to live and work – but the infrastructure to support it must be in place.”