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The Mayor of London has called on the Government to take "urgent action" if London is to retain its position as "a world leader in e-business".

Mayor Ken Livingstone was commenting on a report prepared by his e-business advisor, Energis' Colin Jenkins, which claims that the capital's current status as Europe's leading e-business centre could be under threat.

The Report on London’s Competitiveness through the impact of e-business claims that while "central London is well supported for fibre access...the vast majority of London has little availability of broadband access...[and that where available it] is expensive."

It calls on Government to intervene at a national level to overcome the "broadband access/services dilemma" currently facing the country.

The report also fears that London will be hit by an IT skills shortage and calls for a major programme to train people and bring them up to speed.

Livingstone said: "London's position as a leader in e-business has contributed massively to the competitiveness of UK industry and attracted considerable inward investment.

"We must ensure that we sustain our pre-eminent position. The capital's competitiveness will be seriously undermined without the right technology and a workforce with the right training.

"There are many Londoners whose talents are currently not being utilised because they don't have computer skills. It is vital both for individuals and for industry that Londoners have access to the computer training they need."

No one from the Government was available to comment by press time. ®

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