Public sector investment in IT will continue beyond the 2005 e-government deadline, helping to fill channel coffers, according to research from IDC.
The analyst has claimed that spending on IT in local and central government, and healthcare in western Europe will be worth more than $58bn by 2008.
Between 2003 and 2008 central government IT spending will increase from $22.4bn to $29.6bn, while the local government sector will rise from $15.9bn to $21.1bn, said IDC.
In separate research IDC predicted hardware, software and IT services in the healthcare sector will be worth $8.8bn by 2008, compared with $6bn in 2003.
Massimiliano Claps, senior research analyst at IDC, said spending is increasing as governments move towards "citizen-oriented and leaner organisations", with integrated e-government systems.
"I don't think the 2005 deadline to have all services online will be met before mid-2006," Claps said. "But even when the targets are reached, investment will continue."
Rod Matthews, director of e-government programmes at Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, agreed spending will continue. "The target will change to data sharing between public-sector bodies," he said.
But Matthews said the view that the 2005 targets will not be reached until mid-2006 is pessimistic. "We expect to have an electronic system for all services by the end of 2005," he said.
Dave Meaden, public-sector managing director of VAR Northgate Information Systems, said e-government is the first step in bringing disparate public bodies together.
"We are seeing this in our work with local government, where county and district councils share information," he said.
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