E-commerce bill to be centrepiece of government

£500m will be spent setting up IT centres around the UK

Prime minister Tony Blair put e-commerce at the centre of government policy but admitted he was personally a "technophobe" in a keynote speech at the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) conference in Birmingham Tuesday.

The e-communication bill will form the centrepiece of government policy for the forthcoming session of parliament according to Blair. The PM admitted that government could "help or hinder" the development of e-commerce but felt the e-commerce bill had "got the balance right".

"We need to wave the flag to support e-commerce. It has the ability to transform lives," the PM said. Reiterating the government's desire to wire the whole nation, Tony Blair announced the government will spend £500m, setting up information technology centres around the UK.

According to Blair, the future of economic stability will rest on "intellectual capital". "British business needs to be knowledge-driven. Companies will thrive on knowledge, skills, flexibility and creativity," he said. To this end, Blair announced the government will subsidise computer training courses by up to 80 percent.