When the new coalition government was formed a number of projects including the development of applications for mobile handsets such as on the Apple iPhone were put on hold.
The applications in the pipeline included a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) app that would have allowed drivers to renew their tax discs using their smartphone. This has already cost the DVLA around £40,000 but there are now no immediate plans to continue with the development.
A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed these findings.
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office has confirmed these reports:
“The government recently announced a freeze on all marketing and advertising spend for this year and this includes iPhone applications.
“While the government wants to ensure that information and services are available in the most efficient and convenient forms, future spend on iPhone development will be subject to strict controls: only essential activity, approved by the Efficiency and Reform Group, which is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will be allowed.”
It is not just the government that is waking up to the fact that mobile phone applications can be good for business as RIM’s BlackBerry is also becoming popular with developers looking to offer useful mobile applications that really work. Even though the spending in this instance has not been justified, this may be the way forward for many businesses.