Clause 61 — Computer equipment
Orders of the Day — Finance (No. 2) Bill
Mark Francois (Shadow Minister, Treasury; Rayleigh, Conservative)
I shall come on to that, and I shall prove that it is not taking place on a scale that would justify the abolition of the scheme.
The initial decision to scrap the home computing initiative, once it was discovered hidden in the Budget of
"The real beauty of HCI schemes is that they have the potential to improve performance in almost every area of the organisation. As well as traditional drivers—reducing costs, increasing profitability— they can also contribute to more recent imperatives such as corporate responsibility, individual learning and workplace development."
Even more embarrassingly for the Government, the DTI was in the process of rolling out an HCI scheme for its own staff, as was the Department for Work and Pensions, which has far more staff than the DTI. In addition, the CBI, which actively advocated the scheme for two years at the Government's behest, reacted to the change with consternation. On
"This flies in the face of everything the country is trying to achieve on skills. Seventy-five per cent. of people affected by this change are lower paid taxpayers. They will want to know why the Government has deprived them, and their families, of this opportunity . . . computer literacy has to be a given in a globally competitive economy."