British Prime Minister David Cameron has already proclaimed his love for the iPad, and next week Commons authorities will decide whether or not all British MPs should be issued with Apple’s tablet following a recommendation from the Commons Administration Committee, which believes the device will save taxpayer money.
MPs are already issued with three (yes, three!) desktop computers and two (yes, two!) laptops for office use. But the committee believes that adding a tablet to the mix will make it “easier for MPs to do their work and save paper,” the BBC reports.
The recommendation of a “rapid rollout of suitable mobile tablet hardware” followed a trial involving 16 members of the Commons committee back in February. While they noted that there were indeed “other devices” on the market, “the iPad was ahead of the field with regard to functionality.”
Sir Alan Haselhurst, chairman of the committee, said February’s trial had cut MPs’ costs by “several thousand pounds” by allowing members to circulate information electronically, rather than on paper. “There is a pretty sure case to say that the supply of these will lead to an overall saving for the public purse,” he said.
However, the campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance said that “with the public finances in such a mess, the last thing taxpayers want is to fork out for a new toy for every MP”.
Committee member Joan Miller acknowledges that the discounts Apple offers on bulk buying are likely to be “very limited,” but suggests that the iPad 2 could be obtained for around £250 (approx. $399) — which is around £80 (approx. $128) off its current price.
According to British tabloid The Daily Mail, more than 70 MPs have already purchased the iPad on expenses. On Monday The House of Commons Commission will decide whether or not to issue them as standard.
Do you think British MPs should be given iPads?