Government rejects preferential treatment claim header image

The government has angrily rejected suggestions it gave BT preferential treatment when handing out internet contracts.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme tenders, which were sent out by Whitehall in an attempt to improve the country's broadband infrastructure, could only be bidded for by two companies.

But after Fujitsu quit and withdrew its offers to help on the project - BT was the only firm remaining and won every contract available.

This led to criticisms of poor handling by the UK government and suggestions from Labour MP Chris Bryant that there was a connection between the fact BT chief executive Ian Livingstone is due to start as a trade minister and the awarding of the bids.

However, the chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander angrily refuted this and called the allegations "pathetic".

"There was a proper competition for contracts in every county in England, as well as in Scotland and Wales," he added.