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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
MPs condemn spiralling GCHQ costs
The 'doughnut' - the new home of GCHQ in Cheltenham
GCHQ's move was complicated by a huge computer network
MPs have condemned the spiralling cost of moving the Government Communications Headquarters listening post (GCHQ).

The spybase moved to new headquarters, the "doughnut" in Cheltenham, last year, after occupying more than 50 buildings on two sites since the 1950s.

The transfer was completed under a 489m private finance initiative.

But GCHQ moved its technical capacity itself for security reasons, and the estimated cost of the move rose from 41m to 450m in just two years.

The Treasury refused to fund the rise but paid 216m towards a revised budget of 308m.

On Tuesday, Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman Tory Edward Leigh, said: "It is astonishing GCHQ did not realise the extent of what would be involved much sooner.

Exclusive negotiations

"The process of moving the technology so critical to GCHQ's business will take longer and cost well over 300m more than initially estimated."

The committee said it had been a mistake to assume a private finance initiative had been the only way to proceed.

And GCHQ had made a "highly uncertain assumption" that a conventionally procured building would have over-run its budget by 24%.

It had also been "unwise" to enter negotiations with a preferred bidder when key requirements had not been settled or priced.

During almost two years of exclusive negotiations, the price rose 21% before the contract was even signed.

Computers drove up GCHQ costs
02 Dec 03  |  Gloucestershire
GCHQ staff squeeze into 'doughnut'
17 Sep 03  |  Gloucestershire
GCHQ criticised for huge move overspend
16 Jul 03  |  Gloucestershire
Fresh 'doughnut' for GCHQ office
23 Jun 03  |  Gloucestershire
In pictures: GCHQ's new HQ
20 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery
Jam free GCHQ doughnut
06 Apr 03  |  Gloucestershire
New chief for GCHQ
31 Jan 03  |  England

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