Gordon Brown dubbed 'analogue Chancellor'

Dumping HCI is a short-sighted snub, the Conservatives argue

Gordon Brown has been dubbed the "analogue Chancellor" for failing to save the Home Computing Initiative (HCI).

The HCI allowed companies to loan PCs to staff as a tax-free benefit, with the fee deducted from their salary each month.

But in the budget in March, Brown scrapped the tax breaks, so that businesses that loan PCs to their staff for personal use at home will now face a tax charge of up to £200 per employee as well as national insurance.

The Conservatives had suggested refining the scheme, including tighter definitions on the equipment which would qualify for tax relief in future, saving money for the Treasury, while still allowing the scheme to survive.

Shadow paymaster general Mark Francois said in a statement: "This scheme was endorsed by the DTI, the CBI and the TUC and this represents a very bad decision by the analogue Chancellor.

"The government's insistence on abolishing the scheme is a short-sighted snub to the 2,000 people who will lose their jobs and the millions who now will not benefit from a scheme that has spread IT skills throughout the workforce."


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