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  1. ITV Report

E-border system 'eight years late' and set to cost £1bn, MPs warn

The Home Office has been told to "get its house in order" and implement the long-awaited E-border systems by a group of influential MPs.

The E-border systems is expected to better screen people coming into the country. Credit: Steve Parsons / PA Wire/PA Images

Delays to the electronic system, which is meant to better screen people coming into the UK, is set to cost £1 billion and be at least eight years late, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

In a report the PAC has warned that not implementing the system could be undermining Britain's security.

Only 86% of those coming to Britain have their data checked ahead of travel, despite a pledge to carry this out on 95% of travellers by December 2010.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the PAC which produced the report, said the extra security check is designed to root out serious criminals and terrorists.

If you collect information before people arrive the more chance you have to stop them entering the country in the first place.

That's the prize - to stop the people who mean to do this country harm, terrorists or criminals, to stop them coming into the country in the first place.> That's the whole point - E-borders was to track people and catch people early and to focus on the people who are most likely to be dangerous.

– Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee

The controversial scheme was devised in 2003 to enhance checks on those entering the country by air, rail and sea by gathering and processing data on passengers before they reach the border.

Since then the Home Office has racked up hundreds of millions of pounds in costs, including a £150m settlement following a legal dispute after the original contract was cancelled in 2010.

The new system is now expected to come into force at the earliest by 2019 - eight years later than planned and could even face further delays, the committee warns.

It said warnings about the troubled project were brushed aside and continual changes in senior management have "hindered" its completion.

And it said the Home Office "does not have a clear picture of the management information it has or needs to manage the UK border which is hindering its operations".

Mrs Hillier said the report revealed "a history of poor management and a worrying complacency about its impact on taxpayers".