Computer firms will be encouraged to provide low-cost, reconditioned machines free to anyone who wants one. The computers will be linked to local schools and health centres, and will also help the jobless look for work.
Education minister Michael Wills will announce details of the scheme today. He was stunned by recent figures that revealed just how much the so-called digital divide was splitting Britain. While 65% of better-off households have computers, fewer than one in five poorer families do.