Gordon Brown’s budget speech offered special tax incentives to encourage small businesses to embrace e-commerce and move onto the Internet.

Brown said: "I want to make Britain the best environment for e-commerce and catch up with America as swiftly as possible.

"For the next three years, any small business buying computers, or investing in e-commerce and new information technology, will be able to immediately write-off against tax the full 100 per cent of the cost in the year of purchase."

Furthermore, the Chancellor promised to relax the rules for obtaining work permits for workers with advanced skills in information technology.

The Chancellor also announced tax breaks for those filing tax returns over the Internet.

The Chancellor revealed plans for a £60 million package to get firms online, including £20 million for a call centre and Web-based information and advice service, £10 million for IT training for small firms, and £30 million to build a secure network for Internet-based communication between government, business and citizens.

For more Budget-related information, visit The Office of the Treasury.