Chancellor Gordon Brown this morning announced a scheme to allow poor families and individuals to borrow PCs cheaply, in a bid to boost Britons' participation in the Internet age.
Speaking at the UK Internet Summit in London, Brown's announcement aims to put some muscle behind the government's oft-professed support for all things online.
Brown said the government aimed to have 100,000 PCs available to loan through a local library-style system within two years.
The Treasury is expected to contribute £15 million to the scheme, which is likely to cost participants around £5 a month.
It is thought the scheme could use recycled PCs as a means of keeping costs low.
In his speech, Brown said the initiative could help prevent the emergence of an information underclass with little access to the tools of the information age.
"We could have a society divided between information haves and information have nots," he said.
"But the blessings of new technology give us the means to break down the walls of division, and the barriers of isolation."
Brown also announced an Individual Learning Account scheme to provide a million people with £150 which can be put towards computer training, and 80 per cent discounts on fees for adults who sign up for basic computer literacy courses.
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