As part of Chancellor George Osborne’s programme to reduce the budget deficit, hundreds of sites are going to the big server in the sky. Apparently, in so doing there are savings of hundreds of millions of pounds to be had.
Of the 820 sites up to 75 per cent could go. And those that survive the cull may have to cut their operating costs by half, following an extensive review.
Cabinet office minister Francis Maude said: "This government is completely committed to getting the government web back under control. 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."
Given the parlous state of the UK’s finances, it’s not hard to see why some of the sites have been fingered for downsizing.
Take for example, the businesslink.com. Each visit to the site last year cost us £2.15. Worse still is uktradeinvest.gov.uk, which racked up operating costs of £1.78 per site visit.
For what it’s worth, the latter questions the veracity of the figures and claims that their new site is much more cost-effective. You’d hope so, wouldn’t you?
But for me the waste is at its most endemic in the form of the Potato Marketing Board’s lovechips.co.uk campaign site. Here you'll find oodles of pointless video content - all bizarrely starring Keith Chegwin.
Here he is gurning it up at our expense as he sings his love of chips. Warning: prepare to die a little:
We concede that part of that makes the web so ace are that all human life is here - including shonky vids showing Keith Chegwin lovin' on French Fries. But you do have to ask yourself whether the clips are a good way to spend public money that could've saved real-life, actual jobs.
Odder still is the question of whether anyone really needs to be encouraged to chow down on fatty potato snacks. And while we freely admit to being easy to bamboozle, we're more than a little bit puzzled by the fact that its existence sends a rather mixed message in view of the millions also being spent on high profile TV and web drives to get us to eat more healthily.