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The UK was one of the worst-performing markets for ICT growth last year, according to research published today.

IT spending in the UK market remained flat in 2002 at €119bn, according to the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO). Of all the European countries analysed, only Germany performed worse than the UK.

However, the EITO reckons that the UK could see ICT spending jump 3.6 per cent to €123bn this year and a further 4.4 per cent (€129 billion) in 2004 fuelled by spending on security and eGovernment.

Indeed, the improvement in the UK is something that is expected to be repeated throughout Europe, with analysts claiming that we could be witnessing the first green shoots of recovery in the ICT market.

The EITO reckons that the European ICT (information, technology and telecommunications) market should grow 2.5 per cent this year and be worth around €607bn.

For 2004, it forecasts that the total ICT spend will rise 4 per cent to €632bn.

Last year, the growth in spending hit an all-time low of just 0.2 per cent.

The MD of the EITO, Bernhard Rohleder, reckons that the ICT industry is currently in an "intermediate phase" between "two extraordinary growth cycles".

Said Rohleder: "The first cycle now being concluded was driven by the intense pro-active market liberalisation policies, the diffusion of mobile telephony, stationary Internet applications and the year 2000 data change.

"Future growth will be driven by extremely promising tendencies in technology from broadband services to ubiquitous computing and mobile Internet applications. This will promote the diffusion of most innovative ICT solutions with enormous impact on productivity and economic development," he said. ®

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