PracticeConsultingLabour pledges online service for SMEs

Labour pledges online service for SMEs

Patricia Hewitt, the e-commerce minister, is set to pledge a range of online government services for small businesses to go live by the end of 2002.

The service, called ‘Time Saver’ will offer a variety of government tasks for small businesses, including the ability to register company details, file VAT and payroll records and apply for grants online.

The pledge is expected as part of Labour’s election manifesto due out later this week.

According to the government, the service would cut the time small companies spent filling in forms by as much as five hours a month.

Labour is also expected to introduce what are known as ‘intelligent forms’, aimed at speeding up the process.

Hewitt gave an example to explain how they worked: ‘If you need to fill in a form, such as a PAYE return, then the system will complete part of it for you from the information it already holds from your registration.’

The scheme was criticised by the British Chamber of Commerce who said it did not address the problem of excess paperwork and red tape while the Better Regulation Task Force said many small businesses will not be able benefit as they did not have access to the Internet.

Links

DTI website

Labour Party website

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