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The bill comes with a £46 billion price tag

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The government's Web monitoring bill may cost British industry £46 billion, a report warned yesterday.

The British Chamber of Commerce revealed details of a report on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill, which claimed the government had "substantially underestimated the cost of compliance of ISPs".

It put the total cost to ISPs at £640 million over the next five years around six times higher than the governement's prediction. Worse still, the full financial cost to the country - taking into account RIP's implementation and fears over businesses scarpering overseas to avoid the clampdown - was put at £46 billion over five years.

Meanwhile, the London School of Economics and the Institute of Directors have also chorused their disapproval of the Bill over the last week. They have become strange bedfellows with human rights organisations and ISPs, all trying to force the government to abandon or amend its proposals.

The protestors are now pinning their hopes on allies in the House of Lords to defeat the bill.

RIP's committee stage kicked off yesterday afternoon after a heated debate on the state of feral pigeons in Trafalger Square. It is expected to run for several weeks, with ex-Iron Lady Baroness Thatcher, who is generally believed to be a supporter of the bill, expected to be among those calling for amendments. ®

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