UK businesses are being pushed to trade online for the sake of it, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The report from the BCC's ebusiness taskforce also warns that government targets for one million small and medium sized businesses to trade on the internet by 2002, will be missed.
The BCC established the taskforce earlier this year and after consulting with its 135,000 members has presented a list of recommendations to ecommerce minister Douglas Alexander.
Key to this is ditching government targets.
"The targets for trading online by 2002 are not the priority for business. There must be a sound business reason for it," said Sally Low, ebusiness policy adviser at the BCC.
"A preoccupation with assessing and measuring targets, which were in any case only an aspiration, is a distraction to government and of little interest to business."
And recent government figures in the UK Online for Business International Benchmarking Study 2001 show the number of small businesses using the internet to pay for and order goods online has actually decreased since last year, from 36,000 to 30,000 - while the figure for medium-sized firms has dropped by 1000 to 6000.
Government hopes of meeting the one million figure rest on 'micro organisations' of less than ten employees, which showed the greatest increase in online trading, from 410,000 last year to 505,000 in 2001.
Public and business confidence in internet security also needs to be addressed, says the report.
Recommendations include a central early warning system for computer viruses to alert UK companies, and greater investment in the National Hi-tech Crime Unit.
The report also highlights the threat to the growth of ecommerce in the UK by the lack of affordable access to broadband services for smaller businesses, and the poor advice given out by badly trained government-approved ebusiness advisers.
The view is supported by other industry bodies.
"In larger organisations there is good take-up [of ebusiness] but more needs to be done to encourage smaller companies," said John Higgins, director general of software and suppliers trade body, the Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA).
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the targets will help promote the UK as the best place in the world to do ebusiness.
"We have set demanding targets but we must continue the e-revolution and help UK businesses get to the future first," said a DTI spokesman.
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