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PC industry leads fight to save HCI

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Following the shock announcement in last week's budget that the Home Computer Initiative would cease from 6 April, the HCI Alliance has co-ordinated an online petition calling for the scheme to be reinstated.

The scheme, which allows employers to loan PCs to their employees without incurring a liability for the benefit in kind, was put on notice of termination in HMRC's Budget Note BN 30.

The Save HCI website set up by specialist supplier BizzApp noted that the reform wasn't mentioned by Gordon Brown in his budget speech, "but was buried in the hundreds of pages of small print that accompanies each budget statement".

As a result of the change, from 6 April, employees using loaned IT equipment for personal use at home will have to pay up to £205 per annum in tax. The HMRC website has confirmed that loans arranged before 6 April will still qualify for the exemption.

According to Evensham Technology, the announcement has set off a huge rush as companies that were negotiating HCI deals have moved quickly to complete their purchases. However, Save HCI campaigners warned that in addition to denying millions of people the right to tax-free computers for their families, at least 2000 people will loose their job in the HCI Provider community.

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