Blair launches web venture.

The government has moved to put the loss of e-envoy Alex Allan behind it by launching a new initiative designed to encourage the UK to get online.

It has also announced that British small business has smashed its current internet targets.

Prime minister Tony Blair and e-minister Patricia Hewitt said this week at the launch of UK Online for business, that small business is well ahead in the race to get online.

According to Department of Trade and Industry figures, 1.7m small and medium-sized enterprises are now online.

This represents an increase of 1.1m from last year and puts business ahead of schedule for the government’s target of getting 1.5m businesses online by 2002.

Hewitt also announced #15m of funding for the new initiative – a revamped version of the Information Society Initiative, which has been running since 1996.

‘Businesses are responding to the challenges of the information revolution and seizing the opportunities it presents. However, there is still more to be done,’ she said.

Opinion, page 20

E-envoy quits

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