Tories To Bring Government IT Spending Slowdown

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

An analyst group has predicted that government spending on IT will slow if the Conservative Party wins the next general election

An analyst group has predicted that there will be a slowdown in the growth of government spending on IT, if the Conservative party wins the next general election.

So said a new report from TechMarketView, which claimed that public sector spending on software and IT services under a Tory government, will grow by an average of just 0.8 percent each year from 2008 to 2013. This is compared to 2.9 percent under a Labour government.

These spending figures however may surprise no one, considering the dire state of Government finances at the moment. Yet the report indicates that going forward, public spending is going to be very carefully controlled after a bumper ten years of IT spending by Labour.

According to chairman Richard Holway, it was when Labour entered their second term of office, that they really began a massive spending spree on IT.

“…the initial restraints of the incoming Government went out of the window as they entered their second term,” Holway wrote. “Grand projects were the order of the day. Public sector expenditure soared.”

“The UK SITS sector rubbed its hands with glee,” wrote Holway. “I just cannot count the number of times that CEOs said to us ‘Thank goodness for the public sector!’ during both private and public sessions.”

According to Holway, the proportion of the market represented by the public sector grew from 19 percent to nearly 30 percent in ten years.

“But, as you will read in this report, all that is about to change,” he cautioned. “Whichever party forms the government post the 2010 General Election, public sector SITS growth rates will fall. Indeed, fall below those from the private sector. Those companies that have complacently relied on the public sector are in for a rude shock.”

Holway predicts that the days of “More for Less” are coming to an end. “Less for very much Less” might well become our new slogan, he said.

Last month, the damning cost to the taxpayer of Labour’s computer blunders was revealed after an investigation by the Independent newspaper. It discovered that British taxpayers were left saddled with a bill of more than £26 billion for computer systems that have either suffered severe delays, or run over budget, or that have been cancelled altogether.

The government then announced that public sector IT spending could be cut by around £3.2 billion a year by more effective use of open source, as well as energy efficient technologies and cloud computing, when the government’s ICT strategy was announced.

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