Online boost for taxman as government unveils £52m spending plan

Speaking to local businesses as part of a pre-Budget tour in Sunderland yesterday, the chancellor vowed to make Britain the leader of the next stage of the internet revolution. ‘Our target is that within three years we want to become the world’s best environment for electronic commerce,’ he said.

The move to revolutionise governmental internet services comes on the heels of increased criticism of the regulatory burden imposed on small businesses. They complain of wasting time dealing with red tape instead of running their businesses.

The money will be pumped into two new projects which offer services ranging from lodging tax returns, discussions with an e-tax adviser to general inquiries, advice and registering VAT forms.

Brown sees access to the internet as another step to eradicating ‘the British disease of complacency and clinging to old fashioned attitudes and out-dated restrictive practices’ which he believes has until now held back growth in the small business sector.

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