RealTime IT News

U.K. Chambers Head Slams "Contradictory" E-Regulations

London, ENGLAND -- Speaking at the Global Knowledge Conference in London, Chris Humphries, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), is expected to say that U.K. government regulations on e-business are becoming overlapping and contradictory, according to advance information.

Humphries has been keeping an especially wary eye on regulatory developments, following the U.K. government's White Paper on the knowledge economy earlier this month. He said the White Paper was not the giant leap that was hoped for by business.

While welcoming the government's stated commitment to the expansion of e-business in the U.K., Humphries said there was still a danger that the introduction of unnecessary regulation on e-business and e-commerce could threaten much of the government's good work.

"The Data Protection Commissioner's recent draft Code of Practice presents a particularly opaque and confused range of recommendations that could act as barriers to growth in this area," said Humphries.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) represents more than 135,000 businesses, large and small, in all sectors of the U.K. economy. The various chambers represent the interests of these businesses and at the top level the BCC tries to influence government policy to secure a favorable climate for business activity in the U.K.

Unlike previous Labour governments, the current regime is seen to be "business friendly," and the BCC is not necessarily being partisan in its criticism of the growing number of e-business regulations.

At the forthcoming BCC National Conference to be held in Westminster, March 27-28, there will be speakers from all the major parties. The line-up includes Conservative leader William Hague and Liberal Demoncrat leader Charles Kennedy as well as Jack Straw, Stephen Byers, Lord Macdonald, John Monks and DeAnne Julius.

Politics aside, it is probably more significant that the BCC's annual event -- which comes just before a general election -- is being sponsored by Cisco Systems.

Nonetheless, Humphries is being extremely critical of the government in his latest remarks. Calling regulation the "mother's milk" of Whitehall, he says that the tendency to over-regulate has to be resisted.

In the rush to legislate and regulate new technologies, government is in danger of disabling rather than enabling the development of e-business, according to Humphries.

The comments will be unwelcome to Prime Minister Tony Blair whose has spearheaded the government's drive to make the U.K. the world's most attractive economy for conducting e-commerce.