U.K. Minister: E-Government a Reality by 2005

LONDON (04/18/2000) - The U.K. government is still on track to deliver on Prime Minister Tony Blair's promise that all government services will be developed online by 2005, the e-government minister said today.

"This is a very hard target, the government has said so itself. We've effectively cut off three years," Ian McCartney, Member of Parliament (MP), Minister of State, Cabinet Office, said in his ministerial keynote here at "GC2000: The E-government Exchange" in London today.

McCartney, who will next report to Blair in December on the progress of the project, seemed confident that even though Blair's government had last month changed its deadline from 2008 to 2005, it would still deliver.

In his keynote today, McCartney said that although the government still had a long way to go in meeting this goal, politicians did recognize the goals and obstacles.

"We are already delivering online advice on health, consumer protection and overseas travel," McCartney said. "People can get over 230 forms from court services, and courses to prepare adult learners for university," he added.

"We have a lot done, but a lot, lot more to do," McCartney said.

Some services currently underway, which could be ready as early as next year, are technology allowing doctors to transmit prescriptions electronically to pharmacies, small businesses registering for the tax system online, sites to search for all government jobs and allowing people to apply for student loans online, McCartney said.

"The government can act as a driver for e-commerce in the U.K. as a whole," he said. "But the government, just like the private sector, needs to be driven to change."

GC2000, in London, continues through tomorrow. More information can be found here.

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