Guide to boost take-up of Home Computing Initiative

The Government has published guidelines on the Home Computing Initiative
(HCI) – a new scheme that aims to help companies implement home computer loan
schemes and drive up internet use.

The guidelines plan to raise awareness of the tax and national insurance
exemptions that apply when employers loan computers to their employees, to
encourage more businesses to provide the schemes.

While internet use in the UK continues to grow – recent Office of National
Statistics figures show that nearly half of all UK homes are connected – the
Government hopes the HCIs will boost this upward trend.

The Government recently stated that take-up of HCI schemes in the UK has
been limited, due mainly to low awareness of the tax exemption and a lack of
knowledge on the part of employers about how to administer and implement
schemes.

One company to successfully implement a scheme is Royal Mail – which has
made a low-cost, fully maintained PCs available for home use by its
200,000-strong workforce.

Tony McCarthy, group director, people and organisational development at
Royal Mail, said: "Our people often work difficult hours in environments
that don’t lend themselves to learning. Providing a PC at home and supporting
its use for learning is exactly the sort of practical common sense initiative
that makes a real difference."

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