An investigation by the Independent has revealed that delays, overruns, and cancellations of proposed Government IT projects has cost the British taxpayer £26 billion.

The figure, which reportedly is equivalent to more than half the 2009 schools budget, has come in several areas, the most notorious being the scheme intended to revolutionise the NHS.

It was claimed that by 2005 everyone would have online access to their health records, but currently only 160 health organisations, mostly GP surgeries are using the system.

To add insult to injury, the taxpayer has had to foot £39.2 million in legal bills over this elaborate white elephant.

Among other giant and costly failures are projects at the Department of Transport, which ran £24 million over estimate, and the DVLA, where a new computer system turned out to be in German, not English.

Several current projects might also be cut back or abandoned as the Chancellor attempts to cut the country's staggering £175bn deficit.

All not well at the MoD

The Defence Information Infrastructure project at the Ministry of Defence is another IT fiasco, now set to cost an eye-watering £7.1bn and currently £180m over budget.

"No proper pilot for this highly complex programme was carried out, and entirely inadequate research led to a major miscalculation of the condition of the Department's buildings in which the new system would be installed," said the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh.

Via the Independent