Westminster branded wasteful after billions added to IT project costs


Just days after UK Ministers revealed they were to axe Labour’s disastrous £12 billion NHS computer scheme, a parliamentary question obtained by the SNP has found that the cost of another IT system, purchased for the Passport Agency, has more than tripled to £365 million.

The question tabled by Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford revealed that the original Siemens contract had been estimated at between £80 and £100 million over a ten year period, however, the final cost totalled £365 million.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“At a time when household budgets are under real pressure, revelations over how wasteful Westminster has been with taxpayers’ money are an absolute scandal.

“Serious questions must be asked about how the cost of the Passport Agency computer system was able to more than treble – and the first of those questions should be raised with the former Ministers who signed the contracts.

“As Labour meet for their conference it is incredible that, as the people responsible for pouring this money down the drain, they now try and convince us that they have a credible plan for the economy. People will not be fooled.

“This week alone we have learnt that hospitals in England could close as a result of Labour’s crippling PFI legacy, that a £12 billion NHS computer scheme has had to be scrapped and now that another IT project’s costs have trebled.

“Westminster needs to take a leaf out of the Scottish Government’s book on efficiency. The SNP Government has pursued a vigorous programme of efficiency and public sector reform that is delivering results and driving improvements. In the first two years of the programme, it has exceeded its targets by 300 million pounds and 400 million pounds. Last year, 2.276 billion pounds of efficiency savings were made – 673 million pounds above the target – through new ways of using resources, collaborating across public services or improving procurement.

“That money is being reinvested in the public sector to deliver frontline services or lever in new efficiencies. This is an impressive level of delivery that Westminster should learn from.”