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HM Treasury website traffic goes into recession

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The government demonstrated just how much its brave efforts to battle the economic downturn have captured the nation's imagination yesterday, coughing to a yearlong slide in traffic to HM Treasury's websites.

The figures came in a commons answer from Angela Eagle, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to Mark Hoban MP.

Hoban had asked: "How many hits have each of the websites maintained by this Department received in each of the last 12 months?"

Eagle revealed that the main treasury site www.hm-treasury.gov.uk took 266,462 hits last March, before steadily sliding down to 80,548 in September. The financial storm broke that same month, and this presumably resulted in the spike to 465,585 hits in October and 245,986 in November - though many of these might simply have been down to Robert Peston feversihly downloading stats on the state of the UK economy. The figures then resumed their stately decline, coming in at 152,542 in February.

Stil, even these figures seem stratospheric compared to other sites run by the Treasury. For example, isb.gov.uk's traffic has ranged between 6,359 and 2,092 over the last year.

Never heard of ISB (Invest to Save Budget)? It's a "joint Treasury/Cabinet Office initiative with an aim to create sustainable improvements in the capacity to deliver public services in a more joined up manner. A key principle of the ISB programme is that investment is provided in return for reform." So, it would be interesting to know what the return is on the investment in its website.

However, the biggest stinker is the Financial Inclusion Taskforce site. The taskforce's aim is to monitor, evaluate and influence the progress of initiatives undertaken by the Government to promote financial inclusion.

Sadly, this doesn't seem to have caught the imagination of poor people. The site launched in October, garnering 985 hits, before slumping to 353 the following month. Last month it pulled in 1,156 hits, presumably because so many more people have now realised they are suddenly, inexplicably poor.

Things are slighly brighter at ges.gov.uk, which fronts the Government Economic Service - which apparently is the UK’s largest recruiter of economists. GES pulled in 5,505 hits last March, and was up to 7,801 in February. It's almost as if there were a lot of economists out there suddenly looking for a job. ®

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