I shall revert to that shortly. However, there are two external reports—the Kable report and the LSE report. Both estimate the cost of the scheme as approximately between £15 billion and £19 billion. That is roughly three times the figure with which the Home Office has come up. As I shall explain, the figures in the reports are more plausible than those of the Home Office. We are considering a 10-year programme and anyone who estimates the cost as being less than a few billion pounds at this stage is unwise.The Home Secretary disputes the LSE's figures, but another company has also estimated the cost to be approximately £15 billion. An expert from Belgium who advised the Government on their plans said:
"I'm afraid a lot of money will be wasted and that the real cost will be much higher than any of the figures currently being suggested".
Whom should we believe—independent organisations or the Government? The Government claimed that the criminal court computer system would cost less than £150 million but the actual cost was £400 million. The Government said that moving GCHQ's computers to another building would cost £20 million, yet it cost £450 million. Recently the Government overspent on computer projects by £2 billion. Why should we believe them?