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UK firms close technology gap on US

Rapid growth in use of IT has put UK at top of the heap

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The UK is catching up with the US when it comes to the use of technology, an official UK government report has confirmed. The number of UK companies with Web sites has doubled and electronic trade has tripled in just two years, according to the report, published yesterday by the Department of Trade and Industry. And according to the annual Benchmarking Study from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) an extra 250,000 businesses are now networked compared to a couple of years ago. The upshot is that the UK has all but closed the gap with the US when it comes to the business use of IT. "The government is committed to developing the UK as the best place in the world for businesses wishing to trade electronically and UK business are taking up the challenge to make this a reality," said Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Stephen Byers. "The explosion in the use of networking technology by British business is great news for the UK. "The Internet is rapidly becoming a business tool as unexceptional as the telephone," he said. But he warned against complacency saying that while large and medium firms are at or near world-class levels, small and micro firms lag way behind their international competitors. He also said that while the UK is still ahead of France and Italy, very rapid growth in Germany over the last year has almost put it on a par with the UK. So, Germany loses out to the UK again. Just like last night in Barcelona with Manchester Utd's thrilling last-gasp 2-1 win over Bayern Munich to lift the European Cup and secure a historical treble. ®

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