Firms have little faith in e-government - report

The dotcoms don't think Blair's e-ministers are up to their jobs. Jane Wakefield reports

Internet firms have little faith in the UK government's e-commerce strategy according to research published Friday.

Published by The World Internet Forum, the survey was conducted ahead of an e-commerce summit planned for the autumn.

The brainchild of Labour MP and head of the all-party Internet group Derek Wyatt, the summit plans to bring senior politicians, government officials and industry players together to discuss Internet issues.

The straw poll of the 60-odd delegates from leading dotcoms and blue chip firms will make grim reading for PM Tony Blair who has pledged to make the UK the best place to trade electronically by 2002. Only seven percent of respondents believe that e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt is doing a good job with an overwhelming 93 percent convinced the government is not communicating effectively with business on e-commerce issues.

Only 15 percent believe the government is helping to the UK keep pace with worldwide developments in e-commerce and 35 percent believe that Richard Branson would make a better e-envoy than Alex Allan. Only a fifth knew who Alex Allan was.

Commenting on the survey results, show director Phil Nelson said. "We'd like these results to serve as a wake-up call to Blair and Hewitt to give a higher priority to e-commerce. Let's hope the British government takes up the challenge for the sake of Britain and British business."

The DTI was not available for comment at press time.

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