Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/23/hci_scrapped/

UK.gov ditches home PC subsidies

Who did they benefit anyway?

By Mark Ballard

Posted in Small Biz, 23rd March 2006 12:17 GMT

People who have got jobs and can afford to buy their own home computers will no longer be offered a government tax break to buy PCs after 6 April, when The Home Computing Initiative is scrapped.

Through HCI, firms rented computers to their employees, for a pre-tax monthly fee.

About 1,250 companies had joined the government scheme, which was abandoned by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in yesterday's budget. In 2004 about a quarter that number of firms had shown any interest.

Press reports suggested that HCI had become a victim of its own success. It would have cost the government £300m in lost tax revenues over the next three years at its current rate of subscription.

The Home Computer Initiative Alliance, which was funded by BT, Intel and Microsoft, to promote the scheme, was not available to comment.

Intellect, the IT trade association, predictably lamented the scheme's demise, while the Personal Computer Association kept quiet.

Anyone can get a cheap PC made in China, marketed from Texas, on similar terms to the government scheme anyway, except with interest free credit, it's theirs to own.

How much of the benefit of this subsidy was going to the participating multinationals who don't need any help improving their grip on the British market?.®