Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Chancellor Gordon Brown announces seven point plan for UK to lead Internet Revolution [October 1999]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 28 October 1999.

A seven point plan for Britain to lead the next stage of the Internet revolution was put forward today by the Chancellor Gordon Brown at the UK Internet Summit in London.

Building on his proposal to widen access to the Internet to poorer households the Chancellor said that Britain’s strengths in language, communications, education and innovation made Britain a potential world leader in the next stage. Mr Brown outlined the building blocks for Britain winning.

The seven points are:

*Greater economic stability.

The Chancellor said:

“The precondition for all else is, of course, macroeconomic stability so that businesses and individuals are able to plan for the long term.

“I believe that Britain now has a sound and credible platform of stability for which to achieve steady growth.”

*A more competitive environment, including a new Competition Authority

“This Government is reviewing every barrier to competition in the emerging e-commerce market. …In every area we are asking what we can do to enhance competition.

“We must ensure that the price of telephone use is not a barrier to greater Internet use, or lead to a divide between IT-haves and IT-have nots.

* The right legislative framework for e-commerce

“The Internet economy needs the right legislative framework for electronic commerce. We are determined to advance the Internet not just by implementing the best British legal framework but also by pushing for the best European framework to encourage competition, innovation and e-commerce.”

* Fourth, fostering innovation

“The Internet economy will need higher levels of private investment – not least in university science and commercial R&D, and in hi-tech start ups and skills.

“Corporate venturing has been vital in Silicon Valley and elsewhere – providing smaller high tech firms with a strong capital base, better skills and in marketing and management, and a greater market-reach. So, to help the large companies sponsor the development of the small, we are considering new incentives to promote corporate venturing.”

* Fifth, transforming education

“Success in the Internet age depends upon an educated economy. The extra £19 billion our country is now investing in education is designed to give everyone the opportunity to master the skills and technologies of the new information age.

“Next year we will double the money on IT in schools. We can now promise that by 2002 every school – rural and urban, rich and poor, north and south – all of our schools connected to that new world of knowledge. And parts of the National Curriculum will be taught through software accessed on the Internet, motivating all pupils.”

* Sixth, widening access for all

“We must make sure that the opportunities of new technologies are shared by everyone.

“We could have a society divided between information haves and information have nots. A society with a wired up superclass and an information underclass…. But the blessings of new technology give us the means to break down the walls of division, and the barriers of isolation.

“…in the new economy the more individual talent we nurture the more economic growth and prosperity we will achieve.”

* Seventh – modernising government – a public sector willing to innovate

“Businesses and individuals are responding to new technologies and the new challenges of the Internet age. Government must do the same.
“So we are restructuring our public services, from taxation to procurement, from health to our legal systems – organising government in new, innovative and more flexible ways.”