Pinder becomes e-envoy for good

UK finally gets a permanent e-envoy in the shape of ex-Inland Revenue IT director Pinder

Acting e-envoy Andrew Pinder takes the job permanently on Wednesday and will begin the hard task of ensuring universal Internet access by 2005.

Pinder was appointed acting e-envoy in October last year, following the resignation of Alex Allan who returned to Australia for personal reasons. Pinder was previously employed at the Inland Revenue, where he was director of IT.

As well as making Net access available to all UK households, Pinder is also charged with the job of ensuring all government services are online by 2005 and that Britain is regarded by businesses as a leading e-commerce nation.

Prime minister Tony Blair is pleased with the appointment. "He will play a key role in driving forward the excellent work started by Alex Allan," he said in a statement. "We are determined to meet the goals of our UKonline campaign, putting this country at the forefront of the knowledge economy."

Pinder himself is looking forward to his new job but is aware it is not going to be easy. "There are many challenges ahead, not least tackling the digital divide and ensuring that citizens not only have physical access to the Internet, but that they have the skills and confidence to use it effectively," he said.

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