UK Parliament Wants To Buy An iPad For Every MP

UK Parliament Wants To Buy An iPad For Every MP

Britain's government could soon be run on iPads. Photo by hozinja (CC BY 2.0)

Over in rainy Britain, members of parliament (MPs) might have something to smile about. The Commons Administration Committee has recommended that they all be given iPads and cellular data plans. This would cost a relatively small amount, around £260,000 ($415,000) plus data plans.

Currently, every MP is bought two notebooks and three desktop machines “for office use” says the BBC. The iPads would be provided in addition to these machines, which are presumably used by the MPs’ staff, and not just left at the office running BitTorrent clients.

Why? Because 70 MPs have already bought their own iPads (on expenses, of course) and are saving “thousands of pounds” already, mostly in saved printing costs.

The £260,000 figure is based on giving a £400 Wi-Fi iPad to each of 650 MPs, although this is a little off as the committee also plans to use the 3G/4G networks. This means that it would have to buy £500 Wi-Fi+4G iPads, which comes to £325,000, or choose to go with the old, slow, ugly iPad 2 instead.

Even at these prices (which are surely insignificant next to the costs of all those computers), some people are crowing about it. Emma Boon, spokeswoman for 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,” adding that “Many members don’t want one or need an iPad, or simply prefer paper.”

Those paper-loving members could of course simply opt out, or give the thing to their secretaries who probably do all their work anyway. But what Boon (along with comedy “newspaper” the Daily Mail) are missing is that iPads will make the process of government quicker, smoother and more modern.

Besides, who would you prefer running your country? A gaggle of old men and women who scoff at this passing fad called “the Internet” and pass laws to break it, or a bunch of tech-savvy politicians who are living and working with the very tools that will shape the future?

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  • Tseug

    “who would you prefer running your country? A gaggle of old men and women who scoff at this passing fad called “the Internet” and pass laws to break it, or a bunch of tech-savvy politicians who are living and working with the very tools that will shape the future?”

    It’s the 21st century, time to start whittling away at violently-enforced (rather than voluntary) centralized planning systems. The iPad and iPhone are platforms for a free market anarchy, directly connecting us to one another, allowing us unprecedented control over our wants and needs. Time to strip government to just the basics. Everything else can be communicated and acted on directly, in real time by the rest of us through apps, facebook, twitter. Voting every few hundred days for a new group of folks to spend our money for us is intolerably sub-optimal.

  • m_hardwick

    Nobody takes ‘The Taxpayers Alliance’ seriously, they only have on agenda and that is anti iPhone/iPad in Govt.

    What these idiots fail to realise is that the average spend, even at local and devolved govt level is in excess of £1000 ex VAT. You then need to realise that govt doesn’t pay list price for devices, most suppliers will give almost 10% off, AND govt doesn’t pay VAT. Money is not and never can be an argument against iPads in govt. We are about to deploy iPads to our members (I work in local govt IT) and the figures check out, they work out cheaper than laptops by far, that is the driving factor.

    Kudos on referring to DM as a comedy “newspaper”.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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