Minister sees the future in a kiosk Future phone box will even take tax
Wednesday 06 November 1996
Touch-screen computer terminals in booths dubbed the "phone boxes of the future" are intended to give everyone direct access to government agencies and local council services.
"The technology exists to deliver self-service government to both the public and businesses," Roger Freeman, public services minister, said yesterday. He is publishing a Green Paper on the subject today.
Ministers will unveil three pilot schemes which will allow anyone to walk in off the street to their local library or into a pavement kiosk and use computer screens to call up information. The services will also be on the Internet.
Mr Freeman suggested it would help small traders who wanted to expand but were not sure about planning rules.
"If you're a plumber and you want to expand your workspace and need to know about the planning regulations, through this technology you can get the form and information from the Citizens' Advice Bureau," he said.
Ministers believe the computers will be no more complicated to use than hole-in-the-wall cash dispensers.
John Prescott, the deputy Labour leader, will unveil the Opposition's similar plans for open electronic government today, claiming that Labour would take a more active role in managing the technology and protecting public-sector workers against job losses.
The Government was criticised by Stephen Timms, Labour MP for Newham North-east, for having failed to generate enthusiasm for its scheme.
Mr Timms said that in America there had been a huge national debate on the subject. It had culminated in the US Telecom Act, passed this year, which contains a pledge to make advanced communications technology available to all Americans.
He contrasted the situation with that in Britain, where Michael Heseltine, the Deputy Prime Minister, gave up the leadership of a ministerial task force on information technology in June because of a conflict of interest with his Haymarket publishing company. It has signed a licensing deal with BSkyB, which hopes to carry the information superhighway on its digital television network.
Whereas the Deputy Prime Minister could have given the project the high profile it deserved, said Mr Timms, he was replaced by Viscount Cranborne, the Tory leader in the Lords. "That just about says it all, doesn't it? The technology for the 21st century in the charge of an hereditary peer."
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...