Home Office IT project costs rocket
The cost of a multimillion-pound Government IT project has more than quadrupled.
The 10-year deal signed by the Passport Agency, part of the Home Office, was supposed to cost between £80 million and £100 million.
But new figures show the final bill for the contract with hi-tech firm Siemens is £365 million - more than four times the initial quote.
Immigration minister Damien Green said: "The increase in costs over the term of the Siemens contract can be attributed to numerous factors including additional demand for passports, enhancements of the IT infrastructure and business processes to accommodate changes in policy, response to changes in security threats and customer service improvements."
Scottish National Party MP Eilidh Whiteford, who unearthed the final cost in a parliamentary question, blamed the previous Labour government for the overspend.
She 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."
The revelation follows the scrapping last week of the disastrous £12 billion NHS IT system, prompting Ms Whiteford to demand the Westminster Government "takes a leaf out of the Scottish government's book on efficiency".