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Government pledges free laptops to low-income families

Father and son

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 11 Jan 2010 at 13:26

Gordon Brown has promised free laptops and broadband access to 270,000 low income families, as the Government looks to narrow the digital divide.

The scheme will be backed by a £300 million investment, and comes as the Government pushes schools to make reports on children available to parents online.

"We want every family to become a broadband family, and we want every home linked to a school. It will mean all families can come together, learn together and reap rewards together," Gordon Brown told attendees of an international education forum in Westminster.

We want every family to become a broadband family, and we want every home linked to a school

"We realise that for parents to influence and engage in the education of their children they need rich, varied and easily accessible information on the progress, behaviour and attendance of their children.

"So the mother who's worried about her son struggling with his reading can find out more about how she can help. Or the dad who works long hours and can't make a parents' evening can keep in touch with his daughter's progress, at whatever time of the day or night that he's free," he concluded.

The idea was first mooted in 2008 by former schools minister Jim Knight, but will be enshrined in the Children, Schools and Families Bill 2009/2010.

The Government has yet to confirm the criteria by which low-income families will be judged, though it will not be enough for children to qualify for free school meals - the Government's traditional benchmark.

Instead, the Department for Children, Schools and Families says that low-income families with children aged between seven and 14 will be eligible for the scheme, as will children with special needs and those in care.

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User comments

It must be an Election Year!

"The idea was first mooted in 2008". Interesting timing, thought up in 2008, relaunched in 2010, no doubt delivery will be 2012 or later.

By milliganp on 11 Jan 2010

Why bother go to work !

Another scheme to spend Tax ££, which could be better invested else where.

What's the point in working hard and bettering yourself when the government will just give you everything you want.

What's next LCD TV's for every home, as we all need HD TV !

You want the internet go to the library if you cant afford it

By lepstar on 11 Jan 2010

Well, straight down to cash converters then everyone!

By mikepgood on 11 Jan 2010

There goes my taxes (again)

Have you ever seen a "low income family" without Sky, pets and a smoking habit?

Us working folk can't afford these luxuries and if we want a laptop it's "save up or tough luck".

Well, what's good for us..

By cheysuli on 11 Jan 2010

It's funny. I often hear people make the complaint that "Being unemployed is cushy" or "They get everything given to them on a plate" etc.

I've yet to actually hear of anyone deciding to voluntarily give it a go though. Strange that? Plenty of people with mouths big enough to brand all unemployed people good for nothing, work-shy layabouts but few people willing to "join them". It's almost as if, on reflection, people decide that being unemployed isn't quite as attractive as it sounds.

Personally, if a £300-odd laptop is the tool required to get someone back to work then great. Sounds like good value compared to years of benefits. Or, if it allows a child from a poor family the educational opportunities the majority enjoy but their parents can't afford then that's brilliant too. Access to a home PC and the internet IS considered essential for a proper education today. Just because we got by with a slide-rule or (heaven forbid) a calculator doesn't mean that's enough for today's kids.

Of course, some will be abused. Some will be used for purposes other than that intended. But if it helps take some people out of poverty, isn't that a good thing?

By Bassey1976 on 11 Jan 2010

The £300M could be better spent on providing job opportunities for Low Income families so they can afford to buy their own laptops.

By stuscott1978 on 11 Jan 2010

Wow, Crazy just reached another level by the government

It's amazing. The government use our money to give others things they are most likely to already have.

A PC Isn't vital, otherwise how did people live 40 years ago, and if you must give them machines, give them old ones from the public sector or schools.

Broadband for them as well... Unbelieable

And this isn't if they don't already have machines and 42 inch plasma's. Which I know so many have.

That's life, at least I live in Jersey

By AfCurtis on 11 Jan 2010

Mixed messages again from an indecisive governmnt

"We want every family to become a broadband family"

So who is paying for the broadband access fees then? Or does the tax payer buy 270,000 laptops so the unemployed can stay at home and play modern warfare?

By JStairmand on 11 Jan 2010

Already Done

This process has already been done in 2008/2009 country wide. I'm a network manager at a school and we end up dealing with some of the breakdowns/breakages takes upto 20% of our time. The current scheme is better as it encourages desktop option.

All the laptops that have been handed out (HP) use O2 wireless adapter for internet access, i.e. very slow.

The package was laptop, free internet - via O2, headphones, antivirus package with updates, Microsoft Office, laptop bag.

By bazzer on 11 Jan 2010

Obviously never lived on benefits, nor taken an interest in kids schoolwork

Benefits:
They only pay if you're a single parent with kids. Being on the sick puts you on roughly the same level as a poor pensioner.

What you need to do is have a few kids and one of them disabled; then you're set. You've got to put up with the kids though so it's still not much of a life.

Computers for kids:
The news said they'd also get help with paying for an internet connection. Given the increasing importance in education of access to the internet and computers, we need to ensure that the disadvantaged kids get a bit of a leg up or they will fall even further behind.

The problem of parents selling them on could be solved by a distinctive colour scheme and a banning of their sale - just keep government ownership of them. Any shop selling them would be handling stolen goods, so wouldn't touch 'em. Same would go for ebay. Not perfect, but it'd probably do.

By Mark_Thompson on 11 Jan 2010

Some issues...like 'Who is poor?'

Whilst it is clearly important for any pupil to have access to the Internet today, how is 'poor' defiend? Do you have to 'sign-on' first? And how is the request processed? On what ground? Next subject will be: "Who is the lucky manufacturer?" - And will Microsoft give away free operating systems? I doubt it. If any chance - families can get a voucher and have to order from a government controlled website....but how? No PC! I can see cost effective operating systems working within the scheme, like the new "whytwitter Netbook Pack". Works like Chrome OS and has full support included, makes a difference from any other Linux based platform. But the hardware problem will remain, so will be the definition of 'poor'.

By MarkT on 11 Jan 2010

how dose this encourage study or hard work.

why couldn't the schools have extra pcs in a specified room, like a club for poor families 2 hours a night. other clubs run for 2 hours after school. this would controll abuse.

By invalidscreenname on 11 Jan 2010

Vote Labour, get a free laptop!

Remind me, isn't it illegal to give bribes in exchange for votes?

By grimerking on 12 Jan 2010

£300m spent over 270k people means it will cost over £1000 per person. Thats either a MUCH nicer laptop than I'm typing on, or monumental admin costs. Either way, I think a 'computer' with broadband is becoming increasingly important for kids (less so for adults), but they don't need a fragile laptop, they could make do with a Freecycle/ebay desktop, for far less.

Labour are obsessed with shiny things (new school buildings rather than more teachers or books), and anyway its easy to make promises just before you are booted out of government.

By davidsoap on 12 Jan 2010

As a local authority field service engineer I visit upto 10 schools a week, so this sounds great. It'll surely mean that we'll need to employ more people to look after this new equipment.

On the down side, if they think I'm doing home visits they got another think coming :(

By pinero50 on 12 Jan 2010

If only it were that simple

"Personally, if a £300-odd laptop is the tool required to get someone back to work then great."

If they didn't find work during the last dozen years of so-called "boom", how is a laptop going to help them find work in a recession?

There's not enough difference between a low-paid job and benefits to make it worthwhile. I don't feel like trying the unemployed route because my job isn't low paid.

It's simple enough.

By Lacrobat on 12 Jan 2010

No amount of computer kit will account for parents who just can't be bothered with their children.

This is wasted money. It allows the government to utterly ignore the problem of responsibility while pretending their doing something about it.

Children that do well have good parents, not rich ones.

By bubbles16 on 12 Jan 2010

Apologies for the typo - their should, of course, be they're.

By bubbles16 on 12 Jan 2010

Wanted, Secondhand Laptops..

Best cash prices for government issue laptops.

By chrisfixit on 13 Jan 2010

Bassey1976, I know people who have given up work to go on benefits, and they're better off financially.
If you know how to use the system you can get plenty of money.
Why don't you go for a nice walk around a council estate sometime and count the sky dishes, then have a walk around at night and see the kids the laptops will be going to, then tell me it's a good scheme. (Don't take anything valuable with you though)
Bleeding heart liberals, try living near the scum and you'll soon change you're tone.

By TiredGeek on 13 Jan 2010

dionne

free laptops? disgrace. We work hard and dont have a lop of spare cash. Ive had a transplant and get nothing from the goverment, i go out and work my ass of for my cash. Took me 3yrs to save for my daughters laptop. I get no help but they expect my taxes to go to pay for others to have laptops. Get off there lazy bums, get a job and buy there own. Makes me angry.

By dionne on 14 Jan 2010

dionne

free laptops? disgrace. Ive had a transplant and i work hard as does my husband. The goverment doesnt give us anything and we dont have a big income. It took us 3yrs to save for our daughters laptop. Why should we have to pay our taxes to buy laptops for others kids when we struggle ourselfs. Its not what kids have its the parents they have and how there brought up. Kids need parents that will help them not free laptops to sit and play on. Makes me angry how the goverment spend the tax payers money.

By dionne on 14 Jan 2010

Spelling.

I can only hope that following this, there will be an improvement in their spelling as they're not doing so well at the moment, are they? :-)

By PaleRider on 14 Jan 2010

Disgusted.

I am 72 and my husband is 74. We worked all our life.We pay full Community Charge, Dentist,Glasses and my husband pays £76 a month tax on his pension because he gets a small pension from work. I am now disabled and unable to get out.Very grateful for DLA (which I really had to fight for). We are very grateful for our winter fuel allowance. Have just enquired about the Cold Weather payment and when I enquired was told because I am not means tested I am not entitled to it. I didn't expect it really because we get the Winter Fuel Allowance, and I am not bitter about this as I am grateful for small mercies.But it does gall me when I go to the dentist and am the only one who has to pay, as does my husband as the rest of the patients are immigrants and asylum seekers. Also this giving free PC's - have they really blown it now? - I think so. So much so that I have written to No.10. We had to save up for our PC 4 years ago and it cost us £799 at the time. Our daughter bought us a laptop 2 years ago but we still have to pay for the Brtoadband connection. As I say I am disgusted. No more Mr.Niceguy. 72 years a Labour Supporter but sadly no more. Not that I would vote for the other lot so I am afraid it's going to be a spoiled voting slip being returned. This goverment had really flipped now. My advice to my grandchildren now is "Don't work b ecause you will still be looked after" "Don't kill yourselves,dragging yourself into work when you're not feeling 100%" You will get no thanks.
Got haven't I gone on!! Thanks for your patience in reading this.

By Abbeystead on 15 Jan 2010

DISGUSTED

I am 72 and my husband is 74.We pay full Community Charge, Dentist and glasses and my husband pays £76 a month tax because he has a small works pension.I am now disabled and unable to get out but I am very grateful for DLA(which I had to fight for).We are very grateful for our Winter Fuel Allowance.I have just enquired about the Cold Weather Payment and have been told that as I am not means tested I am not entitled to it.I didn't expect it really because we get the WFA and I am not bitter about this as we are grateful for small mercies.But it does gall me when I go to the Dentist and have to pay, as does my husband when the other patients are mostly immigrants or asylum seekers. Also, this giving of PC's - have they really blown it? I think so. So much so that I have made my thoughts known to No 10. We had to save for our PC 6 years ago and it cost us £799, since then our daughter has bought us a laptop but we still have to pay for the Broadband connection. As I say I am disgusted.No more Mr.Niceguy. 72 years a Labour supporter but no more. Not that I would vote for the other lot, I would rather spoil my voting slip. This Government has really flipped now. My advice to our grandchildren now is "Don't work because you will still be looked after. Don't kill yourself dragging yourself into work when you're not well - you will get no thanks"
God, haven't I gone on?
Thanks for your patience in reading my rant!! Just had to get it off my chest.

By Abbeystead on 15 Jan 2010

Its being discussed at:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.htm
l?s=a787434f71609a3b41d35980e2eaf885&t=2188181&hig
hlight=http+www+homeaccess+org

Seems you get £528 inc a year's broadband. So the admin costs must be greater than the laptop+broadband.
It can only be bought at certain outlets and it seems they are overcharging.
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.html?
s=a787434f71609a3b41d35980e2eaf885&p=28700411&post
count=46
Also
.............postcount=99

or maybe not:
.............postcount=65
Also:
.............postcount=95


There are of course people successfully applying who already have a computer and broadband.
They talk about £10/month broadband 'dongles' so presumably this is mobile, so will be slow and have variable reception. Also they only pay for 1 year broadband, then you have to fund it yourself.

By davidsoap on 16 Jan 2010

Get a life

There are people that cannot work due to illness my husband has a long term illness so hasn't worked for last 10 years and we have a son who is 10 with dyspraxia developmental delay and dylexia and cannot read or write properly so could really use a laptop at school as there is software that the local county can put on the laptop to help. So you people just carry on shouting about how people like us get stuff for free. Well i would give my life if i could work so would my husband i wouldn't wish illness on anybody or caring for a child with special needs so thankyourselves lucky that you are helathy.
Single parents on the other hand are different and people from other countries.

By claire270175 on 20 Jan 2010

Its an absolute joke

What the hell are we working for, I have been to college many years while working full time to get a trade to take care of my family, and people we know who donot work and are getting benefits, with the rent ,council tax, and free school meals paid for, and getting child benefit,tax credits etc... and have more luxuries than we have and their payments adds up to about £25000 a year with no tax to pay on it and the government are still going to give them a free laptop and pay for broadband. Whats the point of working just to pay for their luxuries. Wheres the incentive to make them want to go back to work!!!

By glenn on 3 Feb 2010

free laptop response

i cant beleive these sad people.Poor familys getting a hand from the govt for a change and all you sad and bitter people can say is "this is out of order" what about me.I hope the people who dont like helping young kids, who obviously vote conservatives, dont ever find themselfes in a finacialy awkward situation.Think about how people end up being in asingle family, divorce death.What about people getting made redundent and cant find work.Iam a school leaver under the thatcher govt.I know what its like to yearn for a job and left to do your own thing.Familys broken, husbands moving away from were they were born. Told by mr norman tebbitt TO "GET ON YOUR BIKE" and find work.Wnich many familys did,wich i did and found myself a few years later out of work, through a conservative govt,and a broken family.So i can speak from experience, help these children to better themselves. Dont do them down. Its what good societys do help there own.Even if it helps a few people its got to be worth it.Some of these comments i have seen realy realy upsets me.I thought we was a better country than that.But looking beyond some of these comments i know what type of character writes comments like this .They are uaually tory voters that live in the nice areas of the shires wrapped up in there own little world ,shouting, not with my tax money. Fancy moaning about helping young kids,i just cant beleive it.Ihope you are ashamed of yourself, but iwont hold my breath.Well done the govt,its a pity you didnt do more for the poor you would of got my backing all the way.From a tax paying carer.

By paulartwright on 6 Feb 2010

Oh my god

the way you lot are going on is well out of order sorry to say but this is NOT about you but the KIDS how dear you complain that you can or carnt aford stuff (omg ) you sound like the kids dam well grow up , the fact is the laptops are for the kids end off ! and kids cant go out to work and buy there own .. this is been offered to all kids not just the poor kids but all of them .. now as adults open your eyes,if theys kids have a pc , they spend time on msn , facebook at least there not hanging around bothering anyone , and collecting asbo's !

thanks for reading my thoughts on this matter

By madas on 8 Feb 2010

sour grapes

people moaning about young kids getting free pcs sounds like sour grapes to me get a better paid job i say

By qvcaddict on 9 Feb 2010

free laptops

want to moan about kids having laptops what about the millions the mps are helping themselves to i expect you think thats okay so why begrudge free laptops for kids.hopefully cameron and his toffs wont get in or they can kiss that goodbye and the pensioners will lose there winter fuel payments or do you think they shouldnt have that either,its the usual if i cant have it neither can you,

By qvcaddict on 9 Feb 2010

Help with Laptops....

Both my my husband and I were made redundant in September. Without going into details it has been a very difficult 6 months. We have one son who has been brilliant through all of this. He has never asked for anything - and even at Christmas was happy with a couple of DVDs and a CD. I had to return my laptop when I was made redundant and my sister who is a teacher mentioned this goverment backed scheme to me. I was thrilled - as booking slots at our local library for my son to complete homework (he is 14 years old) has got a bit tedious. School are great and he does have access during lunchtime when the tech suite is supervised. So, I took a deep breath and called the number to see if we might be eligible. When I got through to the adviser I was informed that although my son was 14 because he was year 10 he did not qualify. I asked what age groups did - school years 3 to 9. That is approx. 7 - 14 years old. I personally think that this scheme should be aimed at the older children. Junior school children have ICT lessons which should suffice them until they go to secondary school. Would love to know which member of parliament thought 7 year olds would benefit more than a 14 year old who has started their GCSEs! Once at secondary school it is almost expected for homes to have access to technology...I know we are in the minority and as my son is doing the first year of his GCSEs this year I know it is difficult for him.

I support the comments about not everyone on benefits is using it as an alternative career - though I have to admit, and am disappointed to say I see plenty of people who sign on who clearly have no desire to work.

By BirdG on 11 Feb 2010

Well I support this and no I have never signed on in my life and yes I am eligible. I have worked full time since the age of 17 and after my husband ran off and left me with 3 kids I decided to do my Nursing. Maybe many of you aren't aware, but student nurses don't get lots of money they get a bursary which about covers our living costs. My kids are always needing to use computers to research stuff for school and I don't have the money to buy them one, so YES I will be taking advantage of the scheme and NO I won't be feeling guilty. I spent a long time whilst working not being able to afford things too, and I still manage to spend time with my children and do homework with them. So don't tar everyone with the same brush please. I have one child who is in the top 3% nationally in her maths, and no we don't have sky or cable or any of the luxuries you speak of. Doesn't mean that we sit on our backsides all day long doing nothing. I am in uni or work placements up to 5 days a week for less than the minimum wage, so stop griping about someone being given the opportunity to make something of themselves.

By blueberries on 25 Feb 2010

Well I support this and no I have never signed on in my life and yes I am eligible. I have worked full time since the age of 17 and after my husband ran off and left me with 3 kids I decided to do my Nursing. Maybe many of you aren't aware, but student nurses don't get lots of money they get a bursary which about covers our living costs. My kids are always needing to use computers to research stuff for school and I don't have the money to buy them one, so YES I will be taking advantage of the scheme and NO I won't be feeling guilty. I spent a long time whilst working not being able to afford things too, and I still manage to spend time with my children and do homework with them. So don't tar everyone with the same brush please. I have one child who is in the top 3% nationally in her maths, and no we don't have sky or cable or any of the luxuries you speak of. Doesn't mean that we sit on our backsides all day long doing nothing. I am in uni or work placements up to 5 days a week for less than the minimum wage, so stop griping about someone being given the opportunity to make something of themselves.

By blueberries on 25 Feb 2010

council charlie

i am a benifit claimant. you can say what you will. i dont have sky, although there is a sky dish out side my house. i have freeview. i dont smoke, and i dont drink. although we do have pet fish. £1.98p per week to feed. i have a desk top that is steam powered and was handed down the generations from my father to my sister and then to me, its become the family heirloom. i have 3 children one of which i recive dla for, and carers allowence. of and im single as the husband found a newer more beautifull bit of stuff. i dont see him any more at all. my kids are polite and intellegent and work hard at school. they help others and are caring and friendly. so if being council charlie is the reason my kids are the way they are then im proud to be scum. i would rather work and provide for my children but what you dont seem to realise is, when the husband left he left me with every thing including the debt. now the money i recive in benifits is enough to feed and clove my kids, pay 'my' debts and house hold bills and maybe the odd treat once a month, but we are not roling in it. we get by. if i was to go out to work now as a 30 year old mum with no experiance i will only acheeve minimum wage, which as my local jobcentre+ has informed me i will be £100 a month worse off. our internet is on a pay as you go basis as well, so we dont always have internet. kids now days learn alot of stuff and most of the time i find it hard to help with homework, so having constant internet access would benifit my children, who hopfully wont ever have to be on the dole or any other benifits. also it is not easy bringing up a child with special needs, maybe you who critisize should do some homework on disabilitys. my daughter has lobar holoprocencaphaly,
hydrochepalus,
colonic atresia,
blind in one eye,
syndactyly,
curvature of spine,
kidney reflux,
tight tendons.
just to name the main problems. if you think caring for her and taking her the hospital more than once a month and giving my other children the love care and attention they need to be good people, plus looking after the home to make sure its hygenic and safe is easy you should come stay with us for the day. the other thing is my 2 older boys dote on my daughter and care for her as much as they can with out being expected to or asked to. why do they not deserve internet access and a half decent computer that dosnt have coal shoveled in the back to keep it running? (this dosnt prevent crashing!!!)

By toni1982 on 26 Feb 2010

charlie cont...

i must add the colour thingy to prevent wayne and waynetta going to cash converters dose sound like a good idea...

By toni1982 on 26 Feb 2010

charlie cont...

would be interesting to know why the goverment cant afford cancer treatment for some people though, when you think about the nhs and its lack of funding it dose make you wonder if they dont have money or wont give money coz they would rather make votes happy. i would happily trade the laptop to save a life but it wont work they would just give the laptop to an immigrant. probably an illegal one at that.

By toni1982 on 26 Feb 2010

i worked since i was 15 till i was 26 so i've been out of work 4 yrs due to a serious injury so why shouldn't my kids get a little something back after all the taxes i paid i mean in all fairness i have 3 children and 4 step children and it's 1 laptop between 7 it's not as if i'm getting 7. so could people just think before speaking bad about people on benefits

By trudi79 on 22 Mar 2010

Absolute Joke

This is actually beyond belief! I can not believe that the government is able to warrant spending £300 million on LAPTOPS.

Someone above wrote that it is about the kids "since they can't work" - yes i respect that fact, so why not give it to every single one??? BECAUSE IT IS DOWN TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS/INCOME OF THE HOUSEHOLD!

By smarta6 on 20 Apr 2010

Firstly, I completely respect the fact that there are numerous people who are in certain economic positions based on situations outside their immediate control (i.e. redundancies) but how many of you think that it is FAIR to take these laptops from the government... from the people...would it not be better to wait and save?

By smarta6 on 20 Apr 2010

retailer point of view.

I work for one of the major electrical retailers that are supplying these free laptops.
Some of the families that are coming in for them are geniune, polite and grateful that they can now have their own internet instead of having to go to the library or use a friends. However these are the "expecptions" not the usual type who are applying for this scheme.
Firstly most are very rude and want a better specification with a webcam and more memory, (even though this laptops is supposed to be for primary school children to do their homework on.) Many have reserved their laptops online suggesting that they already have the internet. Some are taking the free broadband dongle even though they admit that they already have broadband. Alot are wearing designer clothing and we've even seen one or two driving Audi's and BMW's. The model we are giving them is specific to the scheme and after looking on Ebay I'm not surprised that there are quite a few for sale. God knows how many have been sold down the pub?
It's a ridiculous thing for the government to be wasting £300 million on, why did they think this would be a good idea. And if it was part of an election campain then it's backfired on them caus it's upset alot of hard working taxpayers. I find myself having to bite my tongue when giving "these" people a FREE laptop!!!!!

By taxpayer2 on 28 Apr 2010

well thats made my mind up! I certainly won't be voting for Labour. I'm a mother of four who has always worked full-time, only taking time off to have my children. I'm on a low wage, get a little help with tax credits and am definately worse off than people on benefits! I understand alot of people are not out of work through their own choice but what about the millions that are? I have been told my children are not eligable as i recieve £46 per year working tax credits! If I didn't recieve this then I could claim free school meals (£30 per week) and be eligable for a laptop for my children. I have tried to opt out of recieving working tax credits but apparently thats not an option! It makes me really angry that because I work my arse off, my children have to wait for me to be able to save enough money to have the same chances as those whose parents are laughing at the taxpayer. I used to think it was important to teach our kids to work for what they want in life now i'm wondering if it would just be best to teach them how to fleece the system!

By Helen on 29 Apr 2010

We all have sob stories, but taxpayer2 sums it all up

Trudi79, i can identify that you have paid 11 years tax out of a potential 50 years or approx 2/3 of your working life. I'ts hard having 3 children and 4 step children to bring up, i presume you have a partner due to having 4 step children and i'd like to think that your partner is able to work and pay the taxes you would dearly love to pay if it wasnt for your serious accident. I would like to think that you was one of taxpayer2 most grateful customers and was so happy having your first computer between your household and finally bringing you into the 21st century of technology......
MY SOB STORY ....I'm a little like you, i have children but only 4, i also pay taxes, come to think of it, so does my wife, between us i'd say 40 years worth....
Do i have a laptop computer? yes, it's over 5 years old now and its insurance as finished and ive finnally paid it off. My wife has a notebook, but its on a two year contract and i tend to use this one. My two eldest teenagers have one each, also on the tab....
Were not rich, my wife earns under the lib dems proposed tax start system and i get just above average earnings doing two jobs and 6 days a week (Oh and a massive 10 quid tax credits a week). i started on a yts, got made redundant 9 years ago , got no dole but had to sign on for my stamp for 12 weeks (didnt get dole cus i got lieu and holiday pay). Got a job full time just above minumum wage, still there but only 1 day week but now full time at the place who trained me my trade and currently looking to bigger and better things.....
yes!!!! we have over 40 grand of loans and cc dept not including the mortgage which is interest only. My house aint new, its ex local authority which i didnt buy off them. You might think why so much dept, well, loft conversion for my growing family and loans ect...to cover lost money during maternity leave ect...
Well you may think whats all this got to do with free laptops.... well... My sister in law , who is a single mother (never worked unless you call mcdonalds for 6 months)of one whos father has the child 3 to 4 nights a week, has just got her laptop and dongle to a tune of £600, this adds to the pc and the laptop she bought this year (this was her third she's bought due to spillages and dropping). Then we have the other sister in law who is a single mother of 2 whos father as never bothered, but has had a guy with her for the last 6 plus years and he works but shussssshhhhh, the social dont know he lives there. She also had a accident and got over 40 grand late last year and blasted it in 6 months but had to spend it so she didnt lose her benefits. Already has 3 laptops and a pc (updated them all when the acc money came), she now as ordered, sorry i mean applied for her freebie...
let me sum how i feel..Now i dont mind the government spending hundreds of millions on laptops for the real needy. But i'm sure/know most long term unemployed have more or near as much money than we and most working families have after we pay our bills out and i'm not aiming anything at the people who have lost their jobs during this recession who most probably couldnt get the laptop.....
It would of been more sensible to give the laptops to the schools of these children so they could stay behind and do the homework and this would give the parents of these children an extra hour at a mates house drinking and playing cards or for the more energetic, more time at the bingo or playing on the computers they already have on facebook or loserville, sorry farmville. The government could know if these people have broadband already from the providers and the winners are the long term unemployed but at least its keeping the employees of retailers who these people get them from in a job.

By giz1972 on 1 May 2010

We all have sob stories, but taxpayer2 sums it all up

Trudi79, i can identify that you have paid 11 years tax out of a potential 50 years or approx 2/3 of your working life. I'ts hard having 3 children and 4 step children to bring up, i presume you have a partner due to having 4 step children and i'd like to think that your partner is able to work and pay the taxes you would dearly love to pay if it wasnt for your serious accident. I would like to think that you was one of taxpayer2 most grateful customers and was so happy having your first computer between your household and finally bringing you into the 21st century of technology......
MY SOB STORY ....I'm a little like you, i have children but only 4, i also pay taxes, come to think of it, so does my wife, between us i'd say 40 years worth....
Do i have a laptop computer? yes, it's over 5 years old now and its insurance as finished and ive finnally paid it off. My wife has a notebook, but its on a two year contract and i tend to use this one. My two eldest teenagers have one each, also on the tab....
Were not rich, my wife earns under the lib dems proposed tax start system and i get just above average earnings doing two jobs and 6 days a week (Oh and a massive 10 quid tax credits a week). i started on a yts, got made redundant 9 years ago , got no dole but had to sign on for my stamp for 12 weeks (didnt get dole cus i got lieu and holiday pay). Got a job full time just above minumum wage, still there but only 1 day week but now full time at the place who trained me my trade and currently looking to bigger and better things.....
yes!!!! we have over 40 grand of loans and cc dept not including the mortgage which is interest only. My house aint new, its ex local authority which i didnt buy off them. You might think why so much dept, well, loft conversion for my growing family and loans ect...to cover lost money during maternity leave ect...
Well you may think whats all this got to do with free laptops.... well... My sister in law , who is a single mother (never worked unless you call mcdonalds for 6 months)of one whos father has the child 3 to 4 nights a week, has just got her laptop and dongle to a tune of £600, this adds to the pc and the laptop she bought this year (this was her third she's bought due to spillages and dropping). Then we have the other sister in law who is a single mother of 2 whos father as never bothered, but has had a guy with her for the last 6 plus years and he works but shussssshhhhh, the social dont know he lives there. She also had a accident and got over 40 grand late last year and blasted it in 6 months but had to spend it so she didnt lose her benefits. Already has 3 laptops and a pc (updated them all when the acc money came), she now as ordered, sorry i mean applied for her freebie...
let me sum how i feel..Now i dont mind the government spending hundreds of millions on laptops for the real needy. But i'm sure/know most long term unemployed have more or near as much money than we and most working families have after we pay our bills out and i'm not aiming anything at the people who have lost their jobs during this recession who most probably couldnt get the laptop.....
It would of been more sensible to give the laptops to the schools of these children so they could stay behind and do the homework and this would give the parents of these children an extra hour at a mates house drinking and playing cards or for the more energetic, more time at the bingo or playing on the computers they already have on facebook or loserville, sorry farmville. The government could know if these people have broadband already from the providers and the winners are the long term unemployed but at least its keeping the employees of retailers who these people get them from in a job.

By giz1972 on 1 May 2010

Taxpayers are quick to judge and condemn

Sadly, a lot of people assume that, as taxpayers, they have automatically earned the right to condemn and criticise. Mike_Thompson has got it so wrong by simply suggesting all you need 'is a few kids, one with disabilities and you're all set'. What an appalling attitude to have! I myself have 'a few kids, one with disabilities'. However I am not 'all set'. I provide for my children as best I can along with my husband. We have been taxpayers for years and I worked full-time up until my child was born with severe disabilities. However, I chose not to sit back and wait for benefits to come rolling in. I worked part-time up until my son reached full-time school age and then I decided to go to university to study for a Primary Education degree. I had always wanted to go to university but after my A-Levels I decided to work for a few years to gain some life experience. I quickly decided that, after my son was born, I wouldn't be able to work full-time in my usual 'shop jobs' and be able to support my children, especially my son with disabilities because he needs so many things. I started university and I'm just successfully finishing my first year. It's very hard providing for children on a student loan, student grants and tax credits but we're doing it. I don't expect anything for free and there's no chance I would ever sit back and wait for other people to fund my family. I am also working part-time in a private nursery to help pay for my middle child's nursery fees.
Yes, I have a laptop but I paid for it myself, and I also have a flatscreen HD TV which I also paid for myself, in fact I have had nothing for free except my son's motability car (which technically isn't free because £49 a week is taken from his DLA for it). My husband and I have both worked hard to pay for things for our children and to provide them with everything they need, they may not always get everything they want, but they are not in NEED of anything.
I am disturbed that people think it's OK to condemn others for accessing the free laptop scheme - who are you to judge? Yes, we got by 40 years ago without but that's because there was no such thing as a family computer or computer-aided work in schools. Indeed, my 7 year old daughter came home from school before the Easter Holidays with a letter detailing some homework that had to be done by PowerPoint on the computer. Now, forget the fact that my family has a laptop (again, that I paid for myself) - you could say then that we needed one. I could have applied for one because it was seen as necessary. What if I couldn't get to a public library? What if I didn't live close to one or what if I couldn't afford a bus or taxi to it (if I didn't own a car) and what if all the library's computers were all booked up? What would I do if I were a single mother to my four children, with no car, no family, no job because of taking care of my disabled child? How on earth would I have got to the library with a 7 year old, a 5 year old in a wheelchair, a 3 year old and a 1 year old? What if my intention was never to be a single mother and my husband had recently left me high and dry? You wouldn't be able to shout at me for having 'so many kids' without being able to pay for them because I didn't know he was going to leave me!
All hypothetical situations aside, shouldn't this show you that you cannot possibly judge a person's unique circumstances? Of course you will ALWAYS get the odd person who abuses and manipulates the system but they are not indicative of every person who applies for a laptop.
So please (Mike_Thompson) do not judge others by your warped, holier-than-thou standards because there are people in genuine want and need out there and you have absolutely no right to decide who is worthy and who is not.
Everyone has right to common necessaries and a child should never be blamed for its parents lack of money or job.

By Emma_D on 16 May 2010

Everyone judges

I came across this via accident, and I can easily understand where everyone is coming from. Just one point that has not been considered, coming from a parent such as myself, I would love to be able to provide everything for my daughter including giving her the best education that is available, it's not about the tax payers, it's about the children and how it could benefit them. Yes there are people that will try to abuse the system but just because of those people on benefits, everyone thinks that they just want something for nothing, it's not like that at all, if a computer is able to help my daughter do her research for school, then how does that not help her. Ok yes theres the appeal of facebook and other social networking sites, but getting back onto point, some people may find it hard to get a job, but just because of their circumstances which have led them on this path of benefits, then really, should the taxpayers argue the fact that their taxes have been put towards this scheme? I mean, no one really knows just how long they will be working, and if they wont be needing to apply for any social benefits. No one can really say thats not going to happen.

By kstanley7 on 4 Jun 2010

Ridiculous Scheme

I am a single parent. I have 2 children (I had my children within a marriage) and I work full time. I have to pay for everything and sometimes it just does not seem fair that people on benefits get everything for free. My son's school ran a playscheme in the holidays and those children who were eligible for free school meals got in for free, however, the children that paid for their meals had to pay for the playscheme.
I also agree with someone who said that these people who are on benefits drive big cars and to rub salt in your wounds they are mostly disabled badge holders.
I have a deformity on my left leg (Severe form of clubfoot) and I am not entitled to DLA. I go to work on public transport everyday and sometimes I am in so much pain that it makes me cry. I cannot afford a car on my income as a single parent, I am not even entitled to working tax credit.
But I don't groan and grumble or expect free handouts because I believe in being a good role model for my children. I have had to sacrifice time with my children over the years but I am very pleased to say that I would not have done it any other way and I would never go back to being on benefits when I first was when my marriage broke down.
I do not come from a family of well educated people either, I left school at the age of 12 because I was being bulluid really badly because of my deformity. But I decided to get an education when I got divorced and thanks to God I landed myself a fantastic job for the local authority. I am now acting up to being a Manager. So my point is no matter what ther is no excuse for being on benefits. There are exceptions for some people,however, most people prefer to stay at home then work because it's a cushy life.
Sorry to go a bit!!!

By Farah on 24 Jun 2010

Unbelivable

I am one of the children who recived a school laptop and i am disgusted at the comments i would 9/10 people who have commented are not in their position you say 'why dont the get off there lazy backsides and get a job' well here's news there are no jobs and agreed there peple who abuse the systm but that is what you have based your oppinions on there are people who acctually need this how do you really thin that a single person on unemployment recives £60 a week that includes rent food bills and so on ect theres two sides to every story the problem is that you middle class working people are so far up your own arses to realise

By 27mchapman on 29 Aug 2010

Some of the opionions on here are DISGUSTING

I am disabled and I claim certain benefits - but I dont sit on my backside all day doing nothing I work as a volunteer counsellor helping ppl with addiction - and yes my son was one of the children approved for a free laptop and yes I have sky although I dont drink or smoke - but I do have a phone line - I feel like some of you are saying well if your LOWER CLASS you should get NOTHING have NOTHING & deserve NOTHING... Who the hell are you to JUDGE when you dont know each and every individual case LIKE MINE - I cant work full time ever for the rest of my life as my central nervous system was destoyed having a C-Section with my youngest child was it my fault NO it wasnt - Who do you all think you are. Yes ok there are some spongers I agree I know some myself but you CANNOT and SHOULD NOT clump us all together in the same bracket - I was shocked to read that SO MANY OF YOU think that we are all alike.... Im really angry because my little boy gets so much from using the FREE LAPTOP that YOU ALL PAID FOR - it has helped with his literacy his maths - geography, history - who the hell do you all think you are to beleive that your children deserve that right and MINE DONT - GET REAL THE BLOODY LOT OF YOU !

By Georgie on 6 Jan 2011

in response to Toni1982

Im sure hospitals would have more money for cancer treatment if they didnt do things like spending £80.000 on a rock to be put outside their front door as a focal point - all NHS hospitals fritter money away in one way or another and yet they are not publically critisized ir pulled apart by you TAX PAYERS - and id also like to add that you also ALL seem to MISS THE POINT we have not all been on benefits all our lives - I & my husband worked FULL TIME until I was made disabled - we have both retrained so that we can put/give somehting back to the communities we live in I as a counsellor and my husband as a cabinet maker YOU ALL JUDGE WAY TO LOUDLY AND WORD THINGS IN THE MOST DISGUSTING WAYS I HAVE EVER SEEN not one of you has put for those of you that are GENUINE please ignore YOU HAVE JUST ATTACKED . . .

By Georgie on 6 Jan 2011

Oh & PS

All the Government Laptops have a fair usage policy where children cant go gaming on them - cant go on certain websites and are limited to what they can view - they are specifically aimed at the younger child and do not encourage the use of said sites that you all mention at all - you lose access if you go past your fair usuage policy. And to some of the ones that say get your arse to a librabry I cant walk to my library because of my disabilities and there is no way in Winter when its DARK that I would allow my nine yr old to use our 'LOCAL' library and for the person that said go have a look around a sink estate but dont take anything valuabel YOUR DISGUSTING !

By Georgie on 6 Jan 2011

Disgusted

I have been reading a lot of your posts! For those that have children with disabilities I am so sorry that there are ungrateful americans that say some mean things. Lets take a look why, they must be Republicans unfortunate to say. I don't see them complaining that their tax dollars pay for child rapist, murders in jail to name a few. They complain like they have a right to say anything. Did you contribute to America by signing a contract to protect Americans from unfortunate events or give to charity, or are they complaining because they are greedy? From what I see it is greed. So tell me since I lost my job to someone not to mention a race but to someone that will accept lower pay does that make me dumb or lazy, I am a vet I have paid and protected a lot of you ppl complaining. One day maybe not now but in the future you will need it, regardless if it is for your mother or father putting them in a nursing home and I am speaking about SSI or other gvnt based aid? How would you feel if just because of what you wrote or your views you will be denied due to stupidity and greed. Most of us here are either UK or US. Those in the US, you make me regret my gratitude in regards to what I have done as a nonselfish person. I also have my medical degree and business so is it because I am lazy. I am on gvnt support. Not everyone take advantage, yes some do. But you ppl have no right to judge no one on this earth has that right. I do not care who you think you are or what you think you have done for the US. It is because of ppl like you that we are coming out of a recession. More ppl that have empathy and true honest concern are who needs to fill America. You have a problem with anything, there something called a passport get the HELL out of here nd give real people a chance, we do not need inconsiderate pompous jerks like you. No wonder America has gone where it has. Do research on topics you think you know so well before making a idiotic statement that hurt so many others. I hope one day all of you lose your jobs and need gvnt support and to tell you the truth if was in office or congress I would check everything, including what you think they do not see to deny you support. Shame on you!!! You ARE the reason America will continue to go down hill instead up!!!

By disgustedbycivilians on 27 Nov 2012

free laptop haters

I cant get over just how many people have shown NO compassion towards people on low income can apply for a free laptop,these people have just assumed that every single person on low income are lasy and taking the piss out of people who work and also pay taxes so unemployed people can take the piss.My anger is towards people who just assume we are all scum,I will let you in on a secret I am one of these scumbags.The only trouble is from the age of 14 years old i have worked all my life untill i was 42 and had a severe heart attack in work,This was on the 10th of august 2008 I was in hospieal for 6 months and till now i have spent 2.5 years in hospital out of 5 years.My life has not been the same since,since then i have had severe diabetes/gastroparsis/damaged liver/damaged urinary tract so i self cathatrise myself every time i use a toilet and damaged and narrowing inthe bkood vessels in my brain,there is to much to list more. I want you to understand not everyone is the same but have real rewasons about not being able to work and the only way to continue is by help from the goverment,I am now classed as disabled due to the diabetes i can not walk or even go to the toilet upstairs or bathroom,I have spent 17 months not able yo do this as a result of diabetic neuropathy in both feet and left hand. The only time i can use a toilet is on a mobile comode in my living room,So please think before blasting in to people,so lets see if the boots on th other foot and turns out to be you next time,A REALITY CHECK IS WHEN YOUR NOW 21 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER IS YOUR ONLY CARER AND SHE IS THE ONLY PERSON THAT HAS TO HELP YOU USE A COMODE THATS IN THE LIVING ROOM,So lets see how you feel now,we are not all the same.

By thomasneil on 3 Mar 2013

FREE LAPTOP FROM GOVERNMENT

where do u go for free laptop from government i need one!

By saphiresharon on 14 Oct 2013

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