The Government has spent tens of thousands of pounds developing “gimmicky” iPhone applications including one on car maintenance.
A Freedom of Information request disclosed that departments were spending between £10,000 and £40,000 on single applications which ranged from travel advice to seeking a job.
The most expensive application being developed would show drivers how to change a wheel and calculate fuel mileage. However its launch has been postponed indefinitely as a result of budget cutbacks.
The £40,000 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Motoring Masterclass application was intended to allow motorists to renew their tax and enable those broken down to track the whereabouts of rescue vehicles, the documents showed.
It is not clear how much of the total £40,000 budget has been spent on the application’s development so far.
Critics described the applications as “gimmicks” and “ridiculous”. They also pointed out whether someone who was looking for a job could afford to own an iPhone.
Mark Wallace, Campaign Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told The Daily Telegraph:
“It seems many Government bodies have given in to the temptation to spend money on fashionable gimmicks at a time when they are meant to be cutting back on self-indulgent wastes of money.
“It is ridiculous not only that they are commissioning these apps but that some of them are supposedly secret on grounds of national security.
“Someone who is faced with losing their home because of high tax bills, or whose life is being ruined by crime isn’t going to get any reassurance from knowing there’s an app for that.”
However, a spokesman for the DVLA told BBC News:
“We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to renew their car tax, tell us about a change of address or update their driving licence, meaning they stay safe and legal to drive.
“This would also bring benefits for DVLA, for example by reducing the number of reminders that need to be sent out.”
The information released to the BBC comes just a few weeks after the government announced it was to carry out a cost review of its 820 websites.
A number of government department said they had no plans to develop iPhone applications.