HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc11-2
10. Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to improve competitiveness through increasing the availability and accessibility of information technology. [36755]

Mr. Willetts

The Government's plans are set out in the recently published competitiveness White Paper and include the DTI's information society initiative, which is providing £35 million of new money to help firms capitalise on new technology, and the recent announcement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that a Green Paper will be published in the autumn on the Government's plans for information technology.

Mrs. Campbell

When the Deputy Prime Minister finally launches his "IT for All" strategy, perhaps he will remember that he pinched his best ideas from the city and county councils in Cambridge which, as a result of a successful public-private partnership, provide free Internet access through public libraries, council offices and citizens advice bureaux

Mr. Willetts

I welcome what is going on in Cambridge, which shows what can be done to spread information technology. Part of the secret of Cambridge's success—including, for example, the Cambridge interactive television trial—has everything to do with the favourable environment that the Government have created for cable television, which is threatened by the Labour party's proposed sweetheart deal with BT.

Mr. Jessel

Is information technology available and accessible in the Treasury? Can my hon. Friend comment on the position in the Treasury of Miss Helen Goodman, who at first denied and later admitted that she was seeking to become a Labour parliamentary candidate, showing that nothing that she has said can be believed, including her denial of knowing anything of the leaked documents that she had helped to prepare?

Mr. Willetts

That is a matter for internal Treasury management, which is considering the position.