Three Million Plug Into Home Computing Schemes

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The Home Computing Initiative (HCI) Alliance says that HCI schemes have became the fastest-growing employee benefit in the UK.

Enabled by the Government’s tax exemption on loaned computers, HCI schemes allow employers to loan computing equipment to their employees for personal use at home as a tax-free benefit. More than 380 companies, employing over 3.6 million employees have committed to implementing HCI schemes to date.

Mike O’Brien, Minister of State for Energy & E-Commerce said that HCI schemes boosted IT skills. "This will encourage the widest possible participation in the digital age and ensure that Britain remains one of the best places in the world for online business,” he added.

Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI, is a major supporter of the initiatives. “Of all the workforce skills today, there is no question that basic IT literacy is one of the most important, whatever your business and whatever the make-up of your workforce," he said.

"HCI schemes give people the opportunity to learn at their own pace, in their own way and in their own environment. I am pleased to say that the CBI’s own HCI scheme will roll out in the next few months.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Trades Union Congress, both supporters of the schemes, are also in the process of rolling out their own HCI programmes.

The HCI Alliance is looking at introducing an HCI Supplier Registration programme to provide reassurance to customers, industry and the marketplace that registered suppliers have met minimum criteria and signed up to a formal complaints procedure.

Rick Skett, director & country manager, Intel UK & Ireland said: “We have been working closely with the supplier community to explore the objectives and scope of such a programme – our aim is to provide customers with confidence in suppliers who are meeting the minimum criteria.”

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