The U.K. government should support teleworking and help workers adjust to the challenges of working out of their homes, according to Patricia Hewitt, minister of state for e-Commerce.

Hewitt, also referred to as the U.K.'s "e-minister," told the audience at the Telework 2000 conference that her office will be working "towards a public/private partnership to extend broadband access across the U.K.," though she did not outline any specific initiatives.

Regarding current taxes and regulations relating to teleworking, Hewitt promised that "we will look into fair treatment for people working at home."

According to Hewitt, allowing employees to work from their homes through teleworking will enable the U.K. labour force to grow faster, and the government must help expand teleworking, in part, by leading through example.

"The DTI just put in place our own network access system," Hewitt said, though she admitted that the department's IT manager, or "techie chap" as she referred to him, was experiencing the normal hassles of working all of the bugs out of the new system.

The DTI will publish on Wednesday its guide "Working Anywhere," Hewitt announced.

The Department of Trade and Industry can be found on the Web at