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MPs Could Get Taxpayer-Funded iPads

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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MPs’ iPads would pay for themselves in reduced paperwork and greater efficiency, a House of Commons committee has said

MP’s could be given iPads or other tablets, in an effort to reduce paperwork and save money, according to a House of Commons advisory committee.

The scheme would be funded by the taxpayer to the tune of £250,000, with each device costing a minimum of £400.

Angry Birds in the commons?

Politicians have been involved in an iPad trial during the last few months and the House of Commons administration committee has recommended the “rapid rollout of suitable mobile tablet hardware” to all 650 MPs”.

It says it would make MPs’ duties easier to perform while the costs would eventually be recouped through the use of less paper.

Every member already receives an allocation of three desktops and two latops, with some MP’s claiming iPads on expenses. The committee has suggested that parliament may receive a discount if the tablets were purchased in bulk, but some have questioned the value of the devices and the associated data costs. MPs are due to consider the recommendations later this month.

Last February, it was ruled that peers would be allowed to use iPads, tablets and smartphones in the House of Lords, despite fears that those who could access real time information would have an advantage in debates.

The House of Commons followed suit in March, with MP’s afforded the freedom to tweet during parliament and given permission to use tablets as long as they met certain size restrictions.

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy became the first politician to deliver a speech from an iPad in the house, while the deputy leader of the Commons became the first minister to use the device at the despatch box in October.

Parliament is due to receive a major ICT upgrade after it invited bids for an overhaul of its communications systems, although it remains to be seen how many MP’s will use their new toys to play with Prime Minister David Cameron’s personalised iPad app – effectively a dashboard for running the country.