Home computing group admits defeat

The HCI Alliance has conceded that nothing more can be done to save the tax exemption that underpinned Home Computing Initiatives (HCI).

Several amendments to the Finance Bill tabled by the opposition parties have failed.

The HCI Alliance asked the chancellor to put the abolition of the tax exemption on hold during a review and consultation period and suggested modification for the scheme, under which low-paid workers are given money to buy home computers.

The HCI Alliance suggested tighter guidelines on eligible equipment, capping the benefit of the tax exemption at the basic rate of tax, reducing the annual value of the tax exemption and establishing closer links with other digital inclusion programmes.

But Vivien Quinn, director at the HCI Alliance, admitted it had failed to get the government to engage in any sort of meaningful negotiation.

“We are naturally disappointed – for the thousands of low-paid workers who will now be denied the opportunity of obtaining computing equipment for use in their homes through this initiative, and for the HCI industry that has suffered as a result of this decision,” she said.

“So much has been achieved since the re-launch of HCI in January 2004 – half a million people are now enjoying the benefits of having a home computer thanks to the success of HCI over the past two-and-a-half years.”

The HCI Alliance and its related resources will be disbanded at the end of May.

Good Friday is bad day for home computing initiative

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