The UK government announced today that it would broaden Net access by leasing PCs at £5 per month.

In a speech to business & web people, UK Chancellor Gordon Brown said that he wanted to maximise the number of people with Net access to develop the UK as the world's number 1 environment for ecommerce.

He told the UK Internet Summit

"We could have a society divided between the information haves and information have nots, a society with a wired up superclass and an information underclass."

"Therefore, we are going to help people buy computers and we are going to help them train. I want Britain to lead the world in getting people online," adding "No one should be without computer or IT skills."

"As we enter the next century, we must make sure that nobody is left out of the computer revolution."

"We cannot allow inequalities in access to computers to lead to inequality in life for the next generation."

"Anyone left out of the new knowledge revolution will be left behind in the new knowledge economy, so we will pioneer a system so people will be able to borrow computers and software in the new century the way local libraries have lent books in this century."

Brown also announced a relaxation of the regulations surrounding IT startups and a change in taxation to make it easier for people to borrow computers from work.

However, he failed to note that there's no point in leasing out cheap PCs if the phone calls still cost the earth, and that there's no point in tweaking the tax rules if the eCommerce legislation drives investors away.