British MPs To Receive Taxpayer-Funded iPads

All 650 members of parliament are to receive iPads at the expense of the British taxpayer. The move, which comes amid a backdrop of a major ICT upgrade in Parliament, was first revealed in February by a House of Commons advisory committee.

Politicians had until that time been involved in an iPad trial since 2011, and the House of Commons administration committee subsequently recommended the “rapid rollout of suitable mobile tablet hardware to all 650 MPs.”


The idea is that by equipping MP’s with iPads or other tablets, it would reduce paperwork, save money, and would make MPs’ duties easier to perform. The scheme could cost the taxpayer between £260,000 to £429,000, with each device costing a minimum of £400 and a maximum of £660.

At the moment, every MP already receives an allocation of three desktops and two laptops, with the Daily Mail reporting that so far 70 MP’s have already claimed iPads on expenses.

The House of Commons said on 1 May that any MP (roughly 350 out of the 650 total) who sits on a select committee will receive an iPad with no questions asked. However those 300 remaining MPs will be asked to trade in an obsolete laptop or computer, which should not be too difficult considering their current  allocation.

“The Commission welcomed the Administration Committee’s review of the financial savings and increased efficiency derived from Committee usage of mobile tablet devices,” said the House of Commons Commission.

If around 100 politicians returned old laptops etc then £50,000 could be saved, the Commons Commission claimed (based on 100 MPs returning a laptop), reducing the cost of the purchase of the iPad. The returned item of equipment would then be used to replace obsolete equipment used by staff in the House Service.

It should also be noted that the above mentioned costs of equipping our MPs with tablets is thought to be the cost of bulk buying the device, and does not include any associated data costs or the cost of apps.

Government Tablets

In December it was revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron who already uses an iPad, was to receive a personalised iPad app to help him stay on top of day-to-day operations of the government.

The customised iPad app, developed by Cabinet Office, allows the Prime Minister to remain abreast of government business, by acting as a government dashboard, providing the Prime Minister with all the latest information from across Whitehall – including the latest NHS waiting-list figures, crime statistics, unemployment numbers, and a wide variety of other data – at a glance.

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

How well do you know your tablets? Take our quiz.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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  • So another piece of equipment for member of the public service to loose / leave on trains / in cabs etc

    Besides the fact that these will be used to watch BBC Iplayer instead of any real work, I don't see why the tax payer should fund yet another perk for the government. Were in a recession don't you know...

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