MPs' iPads
MPs may be equipped with iPads at taxpayers' expense

An influential cross-party committee in the House of Commons has said that every MP should be given an iPad at taxpayers' expense.

The cross-party administration committee recommended the "rapid roll-out of suitable mobile tablet hardware" to all. If an iPad2 were bought for every one of the 650 MPs in the House, that would cost £325,000.

Chairman Sir Alan Haselhurst said: "It seems that this is the future, for the convenience in terms of dealing with all the work MPs have to do, but also because it assists in what is a determined policy of the House - reducing the use of paper.

"There is a pretty sure case to say that the supply of these will lead to an overall saving for the public purse."

Head of IT in the House of Commons, Joan Miller, reportedly told a conference in January that iPads could save money.

"We've been looking at the investment cost of iPads versus printing, and we're coming up with a good story," she told the Cloud Expo Europe event in London. "Even if I replace iPads twice a year, it's cheaper than our encrypted laptops."

TaxPayers' Alliance spokeswoman Emma Boon said: "With the public finances in such a mess, the last thing taxpayers want is to fork out for a new toy for every MP.

"Many members don't want one or need an iPad, or simply prefer paper. Some MPs were getting printed versions of Hansard delivered to their home addresses until recently - it's hard to imagine they'll have any interest in a tablet."

A final decision is likely to be made by the ruling Commons Commission.