§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the current budget of the Department for research and development on home-based telecommunications.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
DTI expenditure on research and development projects on home-based working with the aid of telecommunications is forecast at around £0.25 million over the next three years. The projects' total value when other partners' contributions are taken into account will be at least double this amount. Because telecommunications may support work practices relevant to both the office and the home, there will also be research not attributed to home-based working which will have some relevance to it.
Projects included a one-year study of the business and economic implications of teleworking; the connected community, project—in which Apple Computers and BT have contributed equipment to a community to improve its business and community activities—and several projects under the computer-supported co-operative work (CSCW) programme relevant to home-based working.
There is also a major European Community programme, telematics systems for rural areas, worth 14million ecu. Two projects within this programme are led by the United Kingdom:
- MITRE - Market implementation of teleworking in rural areas; and
- PATRA - Psychological aspects of teleworking in rural areas.