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The UK government has published guidelines to help businesses keen to provide PCs to employees for home working.

The Home Computing Initiative (HCI) stresses the benefits employers will gain from providing some workers with home computers, but the scheme is as much about leveraging tax breaks as anything.

British business currently have an annual tax exemption of £500 on the cost of computers loaned to staff, courtesy of the 1999 Finance Act. The cost of loaned equipment can also be counted against the borrower's gross salary, yielding a reduction in the employer's National Insurance payments.

Less tangible benefits include improving workers' productivity by providing a better balance between the time spent at work and at home. The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Education and Skills, both of whom are publishing the HCI guidelines, believe such schemes will lead to better IT skills among the UK workforce.

The guidelines detail advantages such as these for both employers and employees, and provide Inland Revenue-approved advice on setting up HCI schemes.

The guidelines, available from the DTI, also have the backing of the TUC and the CBI.

Copies of the guidelines are available by phoning the DTI publication line on 0870 150 2500 or via the web at www.dti.gov.uk/hci. ®

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