Letter: Brave new world

Sir: The DTI's report

e-commerce@its.best.uk shows that the Government does have a clear ambition to make the UK the best place to conduct electronic business, and a good understanding of what needs to be done (Business, 13 September).

However, ambition and understanding are not enough. The report shows that we are down at number seven in the league table, behind not only the USA but also much smaller economies than ours like Sweden, Norway, Finland and Australia. Germany and France are catching up fast. Britain's very small businesses are bottom of the European league table.

Thousands of UK companies haven't yet woken up to the fact that unless they can flourish in the new, digital world they will go out of business. And UK consumers are now able to see the high prices we are paying in the UK compared to the rest of the world. On the Internet, rip-off Britain is exposed for all to see.

The only way to kick-start the whole UK economy is to establish an effective partnership between government and industry.

The most effective action the government can take is to provide for all its dealings with companies, large and small, to be on-line. Those for whom this is difficult must be given practical help. The efficiency savings that this will provide will more than pay for it.


Chief Technology Officer

ICL, Slough, Berkshire