Socialist Worker

Firm behind failed e-Border system awarded millions in public money

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2417

A fiasco over a new computer system to monitor travellers into Britain has meant that US firm Raytheon will be paid £224 million of public money. 

Raytheon, which also manufactures arms for Israel, was sacked by the British government in 2010 three years into a nine year contract. It hadn’t delivered on the new system.

Raytheon then sued the government and after a four-year legal battle followed by arbitration it won damages and costs. 

The e-borders scheme was originally launched in 2003 by Labour with much fanfare about making Britain’s borders secure.

Tony Blair and Labour ministers used the threat of terrorism and illegal immigration to justify the cost, which ran to £159 million before it was cancelled.

The Tories have now abandoned the e-borders scheme and launched a renamed alternative Borders System Programme.  

Politicians’ drive to compete on how tough they are on immigration has seen millions of pounds thrown away. 

This is money that could have been used to fund hospitals, schools and welfare benefits instead of lining the pockets of Raytheon fat cats.

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