I have a prepared response but I will leave it because it is similar to what I said earlier. This is it; this is our opportunity. Remote working, or as I prefer to call it, connected working, will be a game changer not just for rural Ireland but for the urban areas as well. Many people living in the Deputy's area get on a train, bus or whatever to come into the centre of the city when, in fact, they could be working in a co-working space close to their homes and in their community. That is what I mean by connected work. A person can connect to his or her employer easily.
As I said last year, remote working was a concept. Now, because of Covid-19, it is an everyday working reality for thousands of workers. There are huge opportunities here for regional development. One only has to look at the major companies, such as Indeed and Microsoft, which have told their staff they can work remotely for longer terms. That is hugely positive. We must enable and facilitate that and make sure it happens. There are benefits right across the board. People can live and work in their own locality. It enables young people to avail of cheaper house prices, particularly in the countryside. Less time is spent computing and that is good for the environment. The reality is, therefore, that if an office worker has good phone and broadband coverage that person can do the same job in Ballybay as he or she can in Ballsbridge.
We must seize this momentum around remote working. My Department, therefore, is investing in the development of remote working hubs through schemes like the €1 billion rural regeneration and development fund and the town and village renewal scheme. As I said earlier, we secured an extra €5 million in funding for the town and village scheme and part of that budget, specifically, is for the development of remote working facilities in our town and villages.