Government to launch pensions and tax channel

The Government is to launch an interactive television channel that will provide information on pensions and tax issues.

A tender to create and run the channel has been issued by the Department of Work and Pensions, which is working in partnership with the Inland Revenue.

A decision on the outcome of the tender is expected within the next few weeks.

This will be the second interactive television project backed by the Government.

The Department of Health in conjunction with NHS Direct recently awarded £3.8m to the cable company Telewest to develop the health channel LivingHealth.

The channel was launched as a pilot in June and is provided free to 50,000 Telewest Active digital subscribers in the Birmingham area 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

The interactive service enables users to access more than 18,000 pages of NHS accredited health information and advice, book appointments with a general practitioner, and later this month will provide a one-to-one consultation with an NHS Direct nurse who appears on screen.

The Government hopes that this direct service will help relieve pressure on the NHS.

It is expected that more Government departments will consider launching interactive digital TV channels.

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