The government has moved its targets for superfast broadband back by two years and there are allegations that it has also cut its budget for rural broadband.

Many parts of Britain remain in the equivalent to a digial "dark age" after Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander announced last week that superfast broadband is now expected to reach 95% of the population by 2017 instead of 2015. Many in rural areas will have to wait another four years for a basic service.

The National Audit office is due to report later this week on the Government's Rural Broadband program. It is rummoured in Whitehall that there is a "train crash waiting to happen" due to incompetance of the team in charge in handing out contracts in favour of BT

Broadband and Tax

The Government's plan was meant to be for all departments to be "Digital By Default". However, many people in the UK do not use computers and many businesses are affected by poor or intermittent broadband.

What to do if you have continued broadband problems?

1. Notify your tax office(s) in writing that you are having problems so that fact is on file.

2. Evidence: it may be impossible to provide evidence as to when a fault occurs. If you have already lost three or four hours or days of work and most of that on the phone to BT all you will have is a headache. Try to keep a broadband diary. Your phone records may also be valuable.

3. You may file a VAT Return by telephone. Other returns may be filed on paper, but the filing deadlines are earlier (31 October for Income Tax instead of 31 January).

4. Paying tax: this can be difficult when online banking is unavailable. In that case you will have to pay late, but this may then land you into late payment penalty territory: we suggest you write to HMRC to explain when you make the payment. Keep a copy incase you need to appeal a penalty.