English local authorities will spend £3.9bn between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008 on e-government, according to research from public sector IT consultancy Kable.
In its guide, Implementing Electronic Government 4, Kable said the average annual spend would be £570m. The research was based on English local authorities' Implementing Electronic Government statements, which set out how each council will achieve its target to provide all services electronically by December 2005.
Kable highlighted difficulties in how local authorities will continue to support their e-government infrastructure. Although average spending is set to fall to £324m in 2007/2008, it is unlikely that it will fall any further, it said.
The annual expenditure to support e-government in English local authorities could increase because of a need to implement new technologies and refresh infrastructure, but central government funding is due to end after 2006.
Most local authorities believe there will be efficiency gains from their e-government investment.
Kable estimates that English local authorities will release £968m of cashable savings between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008. Although annual cash savings could meet annual investment in e-government by 2006/2007, the total investment still outweighs any savings, the research firm suggested.
The total UK spend will be considerably more across the seven-year period if Wales and Scotland follow similar patterns, Kable said.