By David Barrett Home Affairs Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 00:51 BST, 11 September 2020 | Updated: 00:59 BST, 11 September 2020
New walkie-talkies for the emergency services have been delayed by another two years and gone a further £1billion over budget.
The shambolic project will now over-run by at least five years and cost the taxpayer more than £10billion – £4billion more than was budgeted.
The Emergency Services Network – to be used by 107 police, fire and ambulance services in England and Wales – will replace the current and ageing Airwave system.
It was supposed to be introduced from 2017, with full implementation in 2019, but MPs were told yesterday that the later date has slipped again to 2024 at the earliest.
Each year’s delay to ESN costs £550million – the bill for keeping Airwave going.
New walkie-talkies for the emergency services have been delayed until 2024 - at the earliest - and will cost another £1billion to the taxpayer
Last year the Home Office forecast that ESN would cost £9.3billion, an increase of £3.1billion on the original estimates set when the project began in 2015.
The original prediction was based on Airwave being switched off at the end of next year, the Commons public accounts committee was told yesterday.
Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft said: ‘The absolute latest that we could turn Airwave off is 2025.
‘And what we are seeking to do is to accelerate that date so that we can turn it off by the beginning of 2024.’
ESN will have an estimated 302,000 emergency service users,