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Dotcom UK slams e-commerce minister's performance

A whopping seven per cent think she's doing a good job

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British dotcoms are deeply dissatisfied with the Government's handling of the new economy, according to a survey published ahead of next week's Internet World UK 2000 exhibition and conference.

E-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt comes in for the harshest criticism. Only seven per cent of those who took part in the survey said she was "doing an effective job".

Prime Minister Tony Blair was also attacked. Only 15 per cent thought that the British government was helping the country to keep pace with the "dynamic world of e-commerce".

And only 20 per cent of those questioned knew the name of the e-commerce envoy.

All this is a far cry from Tony Blair's much publicised pledge last year to make Britain "the best place to trade electronically by 2002", claim his critics.

Among the 55 or so MDs of blue chips and dotcoms questioned ahead of the show there appears to be a fear that the Government's sluggishness means that Britain is falling further and further behind the US and other 'e-savvy' nations.

John Griffiths, MD at Intershop, said: "Everything that is related to e-commerce has to be executed at lightning speed and be followed up with immediate action.

"The British Government has to move faster if this country is to be a major contender in the global race for e-leadership.

"...we believe that the Government needs to work more closely with British businesses, if UK.com is to thrive. The very concept of 'Bills' and 'Committees' and 'Envoys' misses the point," he said.

Phil Nelson, Show Director, said: "If the UK is to live up to its potential and become a major force in the new economy, then the British Government needs to listen more to what these e-business leaders are saying and act on their advice.

"We'd like these results to serve as a wake-up call to Blair and Hewitt to give a higher priority to e-commerce. In our survey, 72 per cent of respondents felt that this was essential. Let's hope the British Government takes up the challenge, for the sake of Britain and British business," he said.

No one from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was available by press time. ®

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