Conservatives plead for reprieve for Home Computing Initiative

The Conservatives are pushing the Treasury to reverse its decision to pull the plug on the Home Computing Initiative.

Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne has written to chancellor Gordon Brown asking him to reverse the decision, announced in last monthÕs Budget, to scrap the initiative.

In a statement on the website he said: “I’m writing to the chancellor asking him to reverse his decision.

“This initiative has helped 300,000 low income families get connected to the digital age.

“I have spoken to the CBI, the TUC and a number of employers. All agree that the chancellor is making a huge mistake.”

The aim of the initiative was to help bridge the digital divide by encouraging employees to get computers at home and improve their IT skills. It was also hoped it would further encourage the development of telecommuting.

It has been estimated that more than half a million people have benefited, including 300,000 low income families as well as many charities and not-for-profit organisations.

The scheme will close on 6 April.

The HCI Alliance – comprising suppliers BT, Intel and Microsoft – is discussing the decision and its implications with the government.

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