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Govt iPhone app spree costs taxpayers thousands

Proposed DVLA app would have cost £40,000

The government has spent thousands developing iPhone apps to accompany a number of its websites.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the BBC revealed that the apps, which included one offering advice on travelling abroad and another aimed at jobseekers, cost between £10,000 and £40,000 to create.

However, the Home Office would not reveal the information contained within the apps, claiming security concerns prevented it from supplying details.

The government has spent thousands on developing iPhone apps

The most expensive app proposed by the government was for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It was estimated it would cost £40,000 to create an app offering advice on things such as changing a wheel on a vehicle, how to use a hazard light and tracking RAC patrols.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to renew their car tax, tell us about a change of address or update their driving licence, meaning they stay safe and legal to drive," the DVLA told the BBC.

"We considered how an application could help with this but no final decisions have been taken and the app, for now, is still in development."

It's not known how much of the £40,000 development cost has been spent already.

Mark Wallace, campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, believes government bodies have given in to the temptation to spend money on fashionable gimmicks at a time when they are meant to be making cut backs.

"It is ridiculous not only that they are commissioning these apps but that some of them are supposedly secret on grounds of national security."

The revelation comes just weeks after the government said it would review 820 websites following a Central Office of Information report that revealed the government forked out £94m to develop and run the websites between 2009 and 2010, with a further £32m on employing web staff.

See also: Government officials banned from using iPhones


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