Clause 61 — Computer equipment

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 5th July 2006.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 3:15 pm, 5th July 2006

In Committee of the whole House, I made it clear that there were a number of reasons why it was the right time to remove the exemption. I shall briefly repeat each one.

The home computer initiative has been used extensively by groups whom we would not generally expect to experience difficulty in accessing information technology. Twenty-five per cent. of participants in the scheme are higher rate taxpayers, more than twice the proportion among taxpayers as a whole. Furthermore, nearly a third of participants are employed in white-collar industries. In March, the Low Pay Commission published the findings of its review of benefits in kind, salary sacrifice schemes and the accommodation offset. It found that take-up rates were often low and that many part-time low-paid workers would gain no advantage from salary sacrifice schemes for home computers and other benefits in kind. The analysis shows that those who can afford to do so have the computers and those who cannot afford to do so, do not. The recommendation was, therefore, to refocus—not to amend—the scheme.