Grant u-turn outrage.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions has denied that councils will be offered credit facilities rather than grants to deliver services online.

Leaks about the awards to local authorities’ plans for implementing electronic government have left many public sector IT managers outraged.

Now there is speculation that the #325m earmarked to help electronic government councils put their statements into practice could be offered as credit facilities instead of grants, as was expected.

A spokeswoman for the DTLR said: ‘The allocations for the #325m have yet to be agreed. The plan is to turn it into capital grants rather than credit approvals.’

About 80 councils are free of debt, so would not benefit in real terms.

Norman MacLeod, head of IT at Bromsgrove District Council, was bitter about the way the DTLR mishandled a key stage in meeting the 2005 deadline.

‘These loans are news to me. We’re finding out from the press,’ he said.

To qualify for a share of the money, councils have to submit satisfactory plans by 7 November.

Glyn Evans, head of Camden Council’s IT department, said that if the DTLR provides the support it has promised, he is confident the deadline can be met.

– Hackney gets final finance orders Public+Services/1125974.

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