Councillors to be given iPads to make them "more productive"

Oh dear. Now we at Pocket-lint don't want to come across all Daily Mail by complaining about the state of the country and questioning how tax payers' money is being spent - but it's pretty much impossible not to be annoyed by this story.

You see, Leicester City Council is planning on giving all of its 54 councillors (from all the main political parties) iPads in order to make them more productive. And not just the basic iPad, we're talking 64GB 3G versions. That will cost a total of £37,746 if they get them directly from Apple.

So why do councillors need iPads you might ask? Maybe for the odd game of Zombie Infection HD, or could it be to touch up their photos using Photo fx Ultra?

We'll let Labour Councillor Sarah Russell explain:

''We're trying out the iPad to see whether it improves the way we work as councillors.

''If it does, and it can replace costly printing, then the council could potentially save £90,000 each year. I have a laptop but it is quite heavy, meaning it is awkward to take to several meetings in a day.

''It also has to be charged much more regularly than an iPad".

Ah, so there you have it. They are lighter than laptops and because you can't print from them (at least not very easily) then it will save money. Plus, think of all the electricity saved from less frequent charging.

That's sold us then - we mean, what other lightweight device could councillors use that drains less power and weighs less than a traditional laptop?

Oh, we suppose they could all just get netbooks. Even a fairly decent netbook like the Samsung N150 would mean a saving of £22,626 if they bought 54 machines at £280 a pop.

Matthew Sinclair, research director at the TaxPayers' Alliance certainly thinks that a netbook would do the job:

"It is right that the council should try to avoid wasting paper where they can".

"But incredible that they think that means providing councillors with flash new iPads at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds".

"A small, affordable laptop would do the same job, though it certainly wouldn't be as exciting a perk for the councillors".

Maybe Leicester Council watched Steve Jobs' iPad keynote in which he (wrongly) stated that netbooks aren't good at anything.

Or maybe they just want the latest must-have gadget without having to fork out for it themselves.

We'll let you decide which is the most realistic scenario.



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