CONNECTIVITY Minister Fergus Ewing has written to Tory MPs about “laughable” broadband claims.

In a letter addressed to the entire Conservative group at the House of Commons, Ewing accuses the UK Government of being behind “a great deal of misinformation” on broadband availability in Scotland.

The issue was raised by Ochil and South Perthshire MP Luke Graham during Prime Minister’s Questions at the end of October, when he attacked the Scottish Government for failing to do enough to get superfast services to householders.

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Graham, who was elected last summer, also asked on Theresa May to join him in calling on the devolved administration “to do more and to constructively engage with departments in Westminster to deliver this crucial service” – despite the fact it is a reserved issue.

Wrongly suggesting that Holyrood has authority over broadband, May responded: “Members of the Scottish National Party come down here to Westminster, they spend a lot of time talking about powers for the Scottish Government.

“Actually, it’s time the Scottish Government got on with using its powers for the benefit of the people in Scotland.”

The issue has remained live since, with Scotland’s 12 back-bench Tory MPs writing a joint letter to Nicola Sturgeon asking her to explain why £20 million given to her adminis- tration by Westminster three years ago for the second phase of broadband roll-out has not yet been spent.

The letter states that Scotland is “behind every single English local authority, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland” on the matter.

Branding this “laughable”, Ewing says he is “delighted” to set the record straight, stating that his team has rejected the phased programmes used elsewhere in the UK in favour of large-scale roll-out, and that Scotland’s phase one work has “delivered more” than any other. He continued: “It is hugely unfortunate that a new intake of Scottish MPs appears intent on overlooking the facts, and underplaying what has been a success story for Scotland.

“This should be an opportunity for us to celebrate the success of the ... programme – a joint investment between our two governments – and to collectively turn our attention to finishing the job. Instead the UK Government has committed just £20.99m to the programme – less than the amount allocated to Devon and Somerset for a less ambitious programme, and substantially less than the Scottish Government’s planned investment.

“Persuading UK Ministers to address this disparity in funding would seem to me to be a far more fruitful use of your time at Westminster than parroting baseless and false claims about broadband delivery in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to ensure all premises in the country have access to superfast broadband with a speed of 30mbps by 2021.

The rural Glen Clova Hotel in Angus has revealed how it was quoted £80,000 to install a connection by Openreach, and currently receives just 0.5mbps.

Openreach said the quote would deliver a 100mbps service at the “remote” location, and that it would consider “other solutions” to benefit the business and local community.

The Scottish Government says the case is “exactly the sort of issue which will be resolved” through its programme.