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E-minister pledges time-saving deal for SMEs

E-minister Patricia Hewitt has promised small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a range of time-saving online services if the...

E-minister Patricia Hewitt has promised small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a range of time-saving online services if the government is re-elected.

The Time Saver programme will enable businesses to cut time spent dealing with government by allowing them to register company details, file VAT and payroll records and apply for grants online.

Hewitt said that the service, included in Labour's election manifesto, would cut the time SMEs spend filling in forms by as much as five hours a month.

The government also plans to introduce "intelligent forms" which would speed up interactions with state agencies by automatically completing parts of the document from information already held from the user's registration.

Hewitt said: "We know that time is money, so we will help businesses save time. Our new Time Saver programme will help businesses to use the Internet for all their dealings with government."

The British Chambers of Commerce has criticised the new programme for not addressing red tape and excess paperwork problems, while the Better Regulation Task Force said many small businesses would not benefit, as they do not have Internet access.

Bruce Ackland

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