Headlines: September 13th, 1999

The Office of Fair Trading and OFTEL are being asked to review their rules
so that the UK continues to lead the way in e-commerce.

Trade and Industry Secretary, Stephen Byers has set a deadline of March 2000
to achieve the review. He is worried that existing regulation, set up
before the development of e-commerce, may stunt its growth.

The Government views the take-up of e-commerce is central to maintaining the
UK’s competitive edge in business. Increased use of e-trading and
communication is expected to lead to lower business costs and consumer
prices, greater choice and a whole range of new products and services.

At his speech at the New Stateman/London School of Economics Conference,
‘Britain on Line’, he also revealed how the regions are already lagging
behind London in the use of new technology.

Sixty five per cent of London businesses have dedicated websites and 83 per
cent use external e-mail.

In the South West, only 42 per cent have websites and 61 per cent use
e-mail. In the North East the figures are 40 per cent and 63 per cent

The new Regional Development Agencies have been asked to develop targets for
business take-up in their region.