Blair slams 'alarmist' criticism over lack of e-business trust



David Bicknell

The prime minister Tony Blair has denied that the Government needs to regain the trust of business over e-commerce.

"The...



David Bicknell

The prime minister Tony Blair has denied that the Government needs to regain the trust of business over e-commerce.

"The actual framework for e-commerce is very liberal and as free of regulation as anywhere in Europe or anywhere in the world," he said. "No less a person than Bill Gates has expressed that view."

His comments followed Computer Weekly's report last week that trust in e-commerce was rated as just four out of 10, according to a group of industry experts.

The introduction of the IR35 IT contractor tax and widespread criticism of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act were found to have eroded the business community's trust in the Government over e-business.

But Blair defended the RIP Act. "When information is being exchanged, the Home Office is perfectly sensible to look at what the potential difficulties are in terms of international crime and terrorism," he said.

"This is being faced by all countries around the globe. A lot of the concerns expressed over RIP are hugely alarmist over what the Government was intending to do with it, and I think we have taken care of most of the difficulties that people have," said Blair.

"On IR35, it is nothing to do with electronic commerce or the dotcom companies. It is simply to make sure that it is only people who are genuinely self-employed, independent people who take the benefits of our taxation system."

This was last published in September 2000

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