The government should scrap three of its largest IT projects and save billions of pounds a year, according to the Institute of Directors and the Taxpayers Alliance.\nThe organisations, which represent business leaders and taxpayers respectively, said the private sector was cutting costs in a range of areas and urged the government to take similar actions.\nCutting down on IT projects, alongside other areas of government expenditure including departmental budgets and certain welfare, would save \u00a350 billion, they said.\nThe key was reducing \u201cunproductive items of government expenditure that don\u2019t work, or are not essential\u201d, they said.\nBringing to a halt the troubled NHS National Programme for IT would save \u00a31.18 billion per year, the \u2018How to save \u00a350 billion\u2019 report stated. Even though it expected cancellation charges from suppliers, it said it did not expect these to exceed a third of annual value of the contracts.\nThe report launched a scathing attack on the programme, saying it was \u201cnever wanted\u201d by doctors, behind schedule, raised serious privacy concerns, and was \u201cfar too expensive\u201d.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAbolishing identity cards would save a further \u00a355 million, it said, adding that the programme \u201chas always been a serious concern on civil liberties and privacy grounds\u201d. And scrapping the controversial ContactPoint children\u2019s database, which it called a security \u201caccident waiting to happen\u201d, would save \u00a344 million.\nThe rationale \u201cbehind enormous centralised databases may seem superficially legitimate\u201d it said, but \u201cas has been extensively documented by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and others, the implications for data security and personal liberty continue to outweigh any \u2018efficiency\u2019 considerations\u201d. It criticised the government\u2019s procurement, maintenance and use of such systems.\nThe expenditure on consultants should be halved to \u00a31.4 billion, it said. The government\u2019s largest expenditure on consultants is on the NHS IT programme, at nearly \u00a3600 million each year.\nThe report also called for the abolishing of Becta, the government agency that oversees procurement of technology by schools, in order to save \u00a311 million. It said Becta had had \u201cnegative consequences for many schools, precluding them from organising IT facilities and programmes\u201d and that it \u201chinders an open and competitive market\u201d, calling for schools to be allocated the money directly.\nMiles Templeman, director general at the Institute of Directors, said: "Businesses are right now making savings and cutting back on costs to get through the recession, and there is no reason why the public sector should not have to do the same.\u201d He said large sums could be saved \u201cwithout hurting vital services\u201d.\nAlternatively, the reduced budgets within the public sector is an opportunity for CIOs and IT to step forward and reduce costs, read the views of CIO UK editor Mark Chillingworth here.