Blair told to focus on e-business

Ministers have two e-business goals for the government’s second term: making the UK Europe’s best country for e-commerce by 2002, and 100% online government service delivery by 2005.

But industry leaders, analysts and users told Computing that they want ministers to concentrate on delivering faster data communications and creating a bigger pool of skilled IT workers.

‘There’s been too much discussion about targets and not enough emphasis on delivery,’ said Nick Kalisperas, e-government programme manager for the Computing Services and Software Association.

‘It’s important for the government to clarify its goals in specific infrastructure terms.’

John Walsh, head of group technology at Halifax, added: ‘The priorities for the government should be investing in IT skills, promoting investment in broadband infrastructure both for business and consumers, and rewarding innovation in the industry.’

Prime minister Tony Blair has appointed as trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, whose spell as e-minister guarantees a familiarity with IT issues, and has chosen rising star Douglas Alexander as minister for e-commerce and competitiveness.


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