Government IT cutbacks begin

In the wake of yesterday's revelation that new public sector IT projects costing over £1 million were to be frozen, the Government has unveiled the hitmen who would deliver the cuts.

The Efficiency and Reform Group, created yesterday by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, is dedicated to cutting expenditure across Whitehall.

Announcing its role in a statement, the group said it would, "make sure departments work together to tackle waste and improve accountability across a range of areas, including ICT spend, procurement, advertising and marketing spend, and Civil Service expenses and recruitment.

The Government has identified total savings of £95 million to be made from IT spending plans across all departments. It also plans to save a further £1.7 billion by delaying or stopping existing contracts. An immediate freeze has been put on IT recruitment across the whole of central government.

The Department for Work and Pensions has been told to cut spending by £535 million. It plans to save £7 million by stopping or delaying IT projects, and slashing spending on IT consultancy.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has begun its review of spending by announcing it is to cut funding for the Institute of Web Science at Southampton University, worth £5 million this year. The move is part of the department's effort to reduce its annual budget by £836 million.

The Ministry of Justice and the Department for Communities and Local Government have both pledged to look at IT projects in their budget review, although no details have yet been announced.