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MPs wary of Blair’s internet goals

Prime Minister losing e-commerce credibility

Many MPs within Labour's own government do not believe Tony Blair and his officials will be able to reach its publically promised goal of having all government services available online by 2005, according to a study published today.

Of the 101 MPs questioned, 61 percent believed the government could hit its target, according to a poll conducted over the third quarter by MORI on behalf of the World Internet Forum (WFI).

That was a drop of 13 percent from when the MPs were polled with the same question in January, the WFI said in a statement.

Last week, Blair announced that the government was investing £1 billion to insure that all services will be online by 2005.

He also announced that his government plans to invest £10 million this year in getting U.K. businesses online, and he has pledged an additional £15 million over the next two years to "help companies exploit new technologies by providing help, with expert advice available face to face, online or by telephone."

Despite such moves, the Blair government does not appear to gaining confidence with MPs in regards to its plans for positioning the U.K. in a technology economy, WFI said.

Across party lines, only 60 percent of Labour party MPs polled and 14 percent of Conservative party MPs polled felt that the U.K. is leading the world in new technology and its adoption of e-commerce, the WFI said.

Furthermore, 69 percent of Labour MPs and 38 percent of Conservative MPs said they are concerned that citizens who do not have access to the Internet will be at a future disadvantage, the WFI said.

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