This morning, Gordon Brown, when interviewed on the Today programme started to gibber on about how, by removing call centres and taking services online it would save lots of money. He gave the example of sending a letter costing tens of pounds; to making a phone call costing pounds; to moving the service online costing pennies.
Brown is however, to paraphrase Peter Mandelson, "peddling a deception". You see, whilst you might save lots of money by moving services online eventually, you have to get them there first. Brown's efficiency savings in this case can't happen until massive capital spending on a massive IT project.
This is part of Brown's ludicrous proposal to give us all a personal webpage for accessing Government services within a year. Yes, that's right, within a year it's all going to be online.
It's not costed yet, but it's going to take a year and it's going to save us all billions.
Would that be billions from the £12.4bn a year we spend on IT projects? Is it really likely that it will be achieved in a year when two years ago it was revealed that 87% of all Government IT projects were in jeopardy of delay or overspend?
Can we realistic believe that all the services will move online when there remain IT projects that have run in pilot for 16 years at a cost of billions? Is it credible that money will be saved when so many projects have doubled in cost or in some cases been designed to save money and then not delivered?
Let me blunt. Brown is talking immense bollocks if he thinks it is credible that he will save money by magically creating an online Government gateway for each of us in a year. It is pie in the sky nonsense, and a look at the track record of Government tells you all you need to know.
NOTE: It's also worth remembering that Jack Straw has even admitted that the Government gets sucked in by computer conslutants promising the mooon on a stick.
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