Government accused of Second Life 'indulgence'

The government has responded to claims by a Conservative MP that it is wasting taxpayers' money on a virtual reality website, the BBC reported today.

The 3D "innovations centre" run by the government on the Second Life site has so far cost 6,000 with projections it will amount to 20,000 with a further 12,000 annual maintenance cost.

Conservative MP Nick Hurd told the BBC: "I am as excited by technology as anyone, I just don't necessarily think, in these times, that taxpayers money, in terms of government expenditure, should be spent on things like this. It looks like an indulgence."

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) responded to the comments saying the project would save money in the long run.

A spokesperson said: "We are currently exploring the potential of using Second Life and have active interest from a number of government departments."

"We believe it could help make sharing technology more efficient and save taxpayers money as meetings, events and shows can be held online at a fraction of the cost and resources."

The project is currently being piloted and will be reviewed in 2011.

The BBC stated that about 15 million people have joined Second Life, although the number of active users is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.