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Government axing websites to save millions

Hundreds of Government websites are to be axed in a bid to to save millions of pounds, it was announced today.

The Cabinet Office said there would be a review of all of the 820 existing sites with the intention of scrapping up to 75 per cent of them.

Those that remain will be under pressure to cut their costs by as much as half.

The announcement came as the Central Office of Information published a report into 46 of some of the biggest Government websites which alone cost £126 million last year.

One website - uktradeinvest.gov.uk - costs £11.78 per visit.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the previous Labour government had, in 2006, promised to scrap 422 of its then 794 sites.

But now, he said, the coalition had identified 820.

"This Government is completely committed to getting the Government web back under control," Mr Maude said.

"The days of 'vanity' sites are over. It is not good enough to have websites which do not deliver the high quality services which people expect and deserve.

"That is why we will take tough action to get rid of those which are not up to the job and do not offer good value for money and introduce strict guidelines for those that remain."

The review of Government websites will look at cost, usage and the scope for sharing resources. It is to report by the time of the spending review later this year.

The Cabinet Office said no new websites would be allowed unless they met "stringent" qualifications and were cleared by the Government efficiency board chaired by Mr Maude and Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.