HC Deb 21 March 2000 vol 346 cc507-8W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what proportion of the adult population is computer-literate to at least basic level; and what was the annual percentage increase in that figure over the last three years. [115765]

Mr. Wicks

A survey carried out in November 1999 showed that 44 per cent. of the adult population in Britain consider themselves to be very or fairly computer literate. 36 per cent. consider themselves to be not at all computer literate. The Department has not collected this information on an annual basis. Therefore no information can be given regarding increases in the overall level of computer literacy.

Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list(a) the areas in which he has approved pilot projects for Computers within Reach and (b) the criteria for such projects; and what estimate he has made of the number of people who will benefit from such projects. [115375]

Mr. Wills

The selection of computer suppliers for the Computers within Reach initiative is currently underway, and includes assessment of proposals submitted in response to the prospectus published in autumn 1999 and follow-up visits to shortlisted suppliers. The successful suppliers, with the geographical areas which they intend to cover, will be published later this spring. In selecting computer suppliers the following criteria are being taken into account: evidence of status, financial stability and accountability ability to provide quality reconditioned or unsold equipment in sufficient quantities for geographical coverage in the case of reconditioning, evidence of a reconditioning track record and the ability to ensure reconditioning to relevant functional and technical standards ability to guarantee quality control, safety and software licence protection ability to ensure a complete delivery service evidence of a plan for set-up and basic training on delivery evidence of links with local charities and communities in delivering reconditioned or remaindered computers to low income learners and families learners firm proposals for the future continuation of the project once DfEE funding ceases and for other sources of funding (which should be named).

We anticipate that up to 100,000 people could benefit from the project.