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24 Dec 2012

First Set Of Public Payment Services To Go Online By 2015

The Cabinet Office announced on Friday the first batch of public services that will become available online by 2015 in a move that is expected to result in annual savings of up to £1.2 billion by 2015, with the figure rising to £1.7 billion afterwards.

Under its “digital-by-default” strategy, the government will move tax assessment and applications for visas, apprenticeships and pensions to the online space in order to make these services more convenient to use for consumers, Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said. With the move, the government aims to give Britons the opportunity to use these services in a cheaper and more efficient manner and bring civil service in line with the increasing requirements of taxpayers.

Making these services digital will benefit not only taxpayers, but civil servants and businesses as well, according to the statement. Currently, the government handles over one billion transactions across 650 services a year and putting these services online will result in substantial savings. Its estimates show that delivering services online could be 20 times cheaper than by phone and 30 and 50 times cheaper than post and face-to-face transactions, respectively.

The digitalisation of these services will help people to more easily apply for pensions and pay vehicle taxes, for instance, saving them time, resources and stress, Maude commented. The government aims to make Britain a global leader in terms of the online delivery of public services and to correct mistakes from the past, when online public services were “woefully worse” than those provided by private organisations, he said.

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