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Monday, September 28, 1998 Published at 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK


Sci/Tech

Mandelson's e-commerce pledge

Mandelson: UK has a unique opportunity to leap ahead

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

Britain's Labour government says it intends to liberate electronic commerce in order to unleash a fresh industrial revolution.


Mandelson: I'm an Information revolutionary
The Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson told his party's annual conference in Blackpool:: "We need to make sure that all our laws and rules are e-commerce friendly.

"I'm determined that our new forthcoming legislation will give Britain the best environment worldwide for Britain to trade electronically," he said. The government will state its intentions in a White Paper on Competitiveness later this year.

Converging on the UK's future

His speech also referred to a Department of Trade and Industry report published on Monday which highlighted key areas in which government and industry had to act "if the UK is to ride this wave of change, extracting economic and social benefit, rather than being overwhelmed."

The conclusions of "Converging Technologies: Consequences for the new knowledge-driven economy":

  • Action programmes needed to spread innovation throughout the economy

  • Radical rethink needed of regulation for the Information Age. Power and responsibility should be moved progressively to the individual.

  • Social inclusion should be ensured through a new definition of universal information services, available to all citizens.

  • Flexible responses required to the needs of the new kinds of companies that will develop in the future.

UK can "leap ahead"

"We should seize the opportunity the knowledge-driven economy offers for the rest to catch up with the best", Mr Mandelson told the conference.

The revolution of the Information age gave Britain a unique opportunity to leap ahead, he said.

"This is an all-pervasive revolution which will reach into every shop floor and office transforming old jobs as much as creating new, West Midlands manufacturer as much as Cambridge science parks.

"My task is to open everyone's eyes to the potential of this revolution and to the new industrial and commercial power that Britain in the 21st century can become".

He joked that it took 38 years for 50 million people to use radio in the US, but 100 million people were using the Internet worldwide in four years and that was before they had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky.



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