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RM, the UK's biggest IT supplier for schools, has walked away from a ten-year £300 million contract to supply all the IT for Northern Ireland schools. RM, with JV partner ICL, was the only company negotiating for the deal, which would have been Britain's biggest ever education contract, but said it could not accept onerous penalty clauses demanded by Northern Ireland.

RM finance director Mike Greig told the Daily Telegraph: "They wanted to say that if one or two computer applications were not available when required in one or two schools, then that would have led to penalties equivalent to a tenth of the whole contract value."

He added: "Since September we've known that this risk of failure. It's a relief to be able to deploy our people onto other opportunities." ®

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