back to article Parliament ponders £400,000 iPads-for-MPs plan

Members of Parliament may soon be issued with an iPad each in a scheme that could cost the tax payer over £400,000. House members have been testing the Apple tablet throughout the past 12 months in a bid to modernise the Mother of Parliaments and save print costs. Now the cross-party Administration Committee has recommended a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reducing waste..

    Well this may save paper in the short run, but what about the waste when they all want the latest iPad? What kind of longevity will they get out of these? And what about breakages?

    Paper is easily recycled as well, the same can't be said for most gadgets.

    Presumably, they'll want them all upgraded within 5 or so years. Do they spend more than £400,000 on paper in 5 years?

    1. Steve Evans

      Upgraded within 5 years? I'll be amazed if 50% haven't been left in the back of taxis within 6 months.

    2. LarsG


      they've been trying to flog us that since 1985, they still say print it off and sign it.

      Ipads for MPs is just a vanity projects, let's be real here.

      If they are issued to them it will be at taxpayers expense.

      If they buy them they claim it back on expenses at taxpayers expense.

      Win win for them.

      However LET THEM HAVE THEM NOW...

      Imagine, one being left on a train or in a taxi, or even better, no gadget is 100% secure so it will be a hackers paradise!!!!!

      Anonymous get READY.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Hold the expenses claim there !

    Fat arse, money grabbing MPs here is something you can have instead and it's only $99:

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Big organisations go with big vendors for a good reason. They get tech support, easy repairs and there is plenty of information around about the product, known issues etc.

      The cheapest possible option isn't always suitable.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Good Dinners !

        Don't forget days at the racetrack and rounds of golf at the Belfry. Tack that onto a contract and then you know why the price goes up.

        Nearly forgot to add the salesman's fat commission too.

  3. Arctic fox
    Thumb Down

    Did they test any other tablets from other manufacturers?

    If they did not then this purchase proposal should be turned down, proper testing done and several producers (Apple included) should be invited to tender for the contract. Otherwise one might be left with the impression that a bunch of middle class politicians are getting us to pay for what is fashionable in the circles they move in.

    1. Thomas 4


      Don't forget you need a Macbook Air and iPhone 4 to use that with!

      (That's not a dig at the mindless drooling simpletons otherwise known as Apple fanbois, it's a dig at the mindless drooling simpletons that are our elected officials)

      1. Sean Baggaley 1

        "Don't forget you need a Macbook Air and iPhone 4 to use that with!"

        Er, no. You don't.

        iOS 5 effectively removed the tethering requirement. Aside from charging my (v1) iPad, I have no need for the USB cable that came with it today.

    2. NomNomNom

      nice idea but that will just turn into a 1 million pound commission being set up to investigate different tablets.

  4. Recaf

    Plus 3G subscription, Apple Care, leather case...

    Let's call it £1m. It's only tax payer's money after all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know

    I know the security chaps didn't want to give them iAnything but the MPs stamped their feet and demanded their shiny toys.

  6. Godwhacker

    Printing costs? Really?

    So it's just the MPs who use the printers, is it?

  7. Dinsdale Piranha

    More dosh

    I was pretty sure MP's enjoy very generous administration allowances already. Perhaps some of the substantial cost savings they cite as justification could be used to fund them, rather than hitting the public again for the dosh.

  8. mike_ackee


    If all they're doing is trying to replace paper, give them eReaders instead for a quarter of the cost.

  9. SJRulez

    What the hell are the Gov playing at now, cutting costs in all sectors of the UK but that doesn't matter because if we have a ipad will save billions.

    I'm also curious as to whether they have actually tested any other alternative devices like any business organization would have to do or whether it was more a case of someone saying... Oh i've got an ipad and everyone jumping on the band wagon wanting one.

    My other issue is.... Will the MP be liable for loss and damage (should prevent them leaving it on a train if they are) and also who's paying the bills for the data use etc because we all know they aren't just going to use it for Gov business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm quite looking forward to when Anonymous hack into them and publish an itemised list of websites....

  10. Slartybardfast

    Training etc

    1. So the £430,000 cost includes training and insurance does it?

    2. How about auditing and accountability?

    3. Have you seen how many computers and phones they loose.

    4. How about security of communications. Fine for reading web pages but I bet they will be using them to send emails etc.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sirs, I am outraged

    I haven't read the evaluation of the pilot, the business case, or the details of how the iPads will be secured and administered. But I'm going to comment anyway.

    I am outraged:

    a) at this colossal waste of public money

    b) that this hasn't been done sooner

    c) that they either tested and didn't choose Android

    d) or they didn't test Android

    e) that they are taking no steps to secure data (unless they are)

    f) that MPs are being provided with a more efficient way of working - quill pens were good enough for Pitt the Elder

    g) that this hasn't been done sooner

    h) just for the sake of being outraged

    1. Rikkeh

      Thanks for saying what I was about to - I imagine it makes quite a lot of sense. Let's do the maths- my office printer charges 7p per sheet of paper printed. Colour is a lot more. Even in black and white, £700 for an iPad will only cost you the same as 10,000 sheets of paper- seems like a lot but that's only a small shelf full of lever arch folders, which given the size of your average White Paper, consultation or policy doc an MP would get through in no time.

      And that's without factoring in the value of the time saved for the Parliamentary Research who'd otherwise have to print and bind it all together.

      As for leaving on a train- at least you can lock and wipe your iPad remotely.

      Chances that any of these arguments will be rationally evaluated in the Mail or the Express? Zero.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Great in theory....

        >As for leaving on a train- at least you can lock and wipe your iPad remotely.

        I'm reliably informed that SOP when nicking iDevices and smartphones is wrapping them in baking foil or mylar crisp packets - puts an end to all that locking, wiping and tracking you down nonsense.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Why would they test Android? it's more complex and less easy to use.

      These are MPs and some of them are getting on a bit now, they're not technology experts. Or can you see your MP spending a few hours installing 'cyanogen' instead of doing their work?

      Remote wipe is a useful feature of these compared to paper, which we all know tends to get thrown in park bins or photographed by the press.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Why would they test Android? it's more complex and less easy to use.

        Pure FUD.

  12. Vic

    This should raise Government efficiency

    Just look at how many secret documents you can give away by leaving a single iPad on a train...


    1. Arctic fox

      Actually Vic doesn't Apple kit usually get left in bars...........

      .......and then you get raided by Cupertino's security people pretending that they are police officers?

  13. fixit_f


    Why can't they all just FUCK RIGHT OFF.

    You already have been supplied with a laptop. If you want a shiny toy you do what the rest of the world has to do and buy it out of your own pocket you horrible, cheating, wheedling little c***s. Even in the big corporates (where iPads are quite common) people don't get away with expensing them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There are potential cost savings if they can change legislation as well. Currently, Hansard is produced and printed and kept in a vast library. Other documents (mainly acts of parliament) are printed on vellum for archival purposes. This is all rather expensive.

    Sure, introduce iPads as part of an overall document processing review. Oh, and replace the iPads at the end of each parliament only - if an MP loses one, he replaces it with his own funds.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Digital obsolescence

      "Printed on vellum"

      This is more sensible than it sounds. Writing or printing on vellum is *known* to be durable for many hundreds of years. Digital data is so much more volatile - look at the Domesday Project (yes, yes, I know that was analogue technology). Unless it is somebody's job to port it forward and maintain its integrity while doing so, digital archives are sufficiently risky as to be close to oxymoronic.

      What worries me about MPs iPads is that they will swiftly become stuffed with constituent's personal information, and we all know where that ends...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Relaces it out of his own pocket

      Then claims expenses back!

  15. mir


    So, how many will they lose and how much sensitive data will be on them when they do?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fait accompli

    I'm sure there are some robust benefits metrics and procurement rules behind this all, as there are with all parliamentary affairs.

    They're not just commissioning the iPads, but also special covers with a portcullis logo, the app to deliver the relevant documents to them and I assume whatever server it'll take to deliver those documents. Then there's the networking and the security to take into account.

    This is because MPs won't carry paperwork and can't be bothered to read it anyway, so if they use an iPad instead which tells them what they're supposed to be talking about, they're more likely to turn up, be prepared and voice the opinion that they're meant to be representing us with.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That isn't even close to what they pay for a well presented hooker and a few grams of coke.

    No wonder they aren't bothered by the cost.

  18. Gerard Krupa
    Thumb Down

    Tablets for Productivity?

    Doesn't seem particularly congruous. Tablets are excellent for surfing, watching videos, playing games and checking and responding to quick emails. For any kind of prolonged work task a laptop (of which, Yahoo's article points out, they already get more than one) or even a netbook would be far more appropriate or at least one of the tablets that supports a keyboard dock.

    Perhaps all that work MPs have to do involves reading FAILblog and watching Netflix.

  19. ed2020

    Any bets...

    ...on how long it will be before one of these, loaded with oodles of sensitive information, is left on a train?

  20. GoingGoingGone

    "circulating information electronically"??

    So, what type of "information" that will finally be "circulated electronically" through the iRipOffs couldn't be circulated electronically through the laptops that surely all MPs already have at taxpayers expense.

    As someone has rightly pointed out, if this about replacing printed stuff, give them a e-ink ebook reader. At least the option of wasting their time with pointless apps and slutty content won't be so appealing.

  21. R 11


    I think your quoted figure includes VAT, so you're off by about £100,000. I'm guessing that Parliament doesn't pay VAT on its purchases, but even if it did, the VAT would flow directly back into Treasury coffers.

  22. Rampant Spaniel

    If it is to save printing costs (and how they can say it will when they admit they don't know how much it will save is typical of these feckless vermin) then a kindle or similar would be superior (battery life and screen readability for the b&w kindles outdoors) and cheaper by a long way. As mentioned above, factoring in wireless costs, the training to teach them how to stream porn, the IT bill for removing malware they contracted from sheep porn sites and the humiliation when confidential documents are leaked due to the iplebs being lost / stolen / infected / hacked by certain journos, this cannot save money.

    Why they cannot just get on with their jobs, stop shagging everything they find higher than kelp in the food chain, taking backhanders, bodging expenses and coming up with gimmicks like this...

    If they had said we will use kindles or similar with secured wifi in the commons /lords etc, it will cost 150gbp for the first yr and xx gbp for the following 3-5 years and save xxxxgbp per year in printing. But no. They want a shiny fecking toy at our expense whilst we are all paying more taxes, suffering inflation in costs and shrinking wages.

    Berkshire hunts the lot of them.

  23. The Axe

    Cutbacks elsewhere

    Let them have their expensive baubles, so long as they cut back all their other frivolous spending - like the subsidised restuarants and bars.

  24. Dazed and Confused

    Saving printing

    If they want to save on printing then surely an ePaper device along the lines of a Kindle would be an infinitely better bet.

    Shouldn't they be leading by example when it comes to cutting costs.

    Now the procurement article post here earlier today said that tablets were to be bought from 6 vendors. Is this rule being applied here?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      So you would be happy with them sending confidential government information to the Kindle email account to get it onto the device? (all of the data would go via Amazon's email system)

      After all, they're all too important and busy to plug in the Kindle to get information to it.

  25. Atonnis


    ....can I see the business case for MPs needing these iPads?

    At the moment the main use I see for them having bits of paper is to wave around in the air whilst saying 'yeah yeah yeah grumblegrumble rabblerabblerabblerabble'.

  26. Not_The_Droids

    Sounds Familiar

    The Board of Directors for the company I work for was issued iPads to "cut down on paperwork".

    3 months later they were back to distributing binders for board meetings. Seems the directors couldn't be bothered to figure out how their shiny-shinies really could work for them in meetings. So the company purchased 30 iPads for naught, but the directors got new toys.

  27. TRT Silver badge

    Yeah, but...

    just think of the speeches.

    "I have in my hand an iPad..."

    1. tyght

      bitch company

      I was told a completely different thing on hahaped.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPads can do so much more / better than eInk - COLOUR is one thing that springs to mind and I hear DC is a big fan of Angry Birds.

    Seriously though it's not like it's a massive cost and probably will save far more over their lifetime.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway they could now author their own books / interactive material for free with the Apple textbook tool - would imagine they would go through hundreds of pounds worth of toner and paper each year (paper probably being the smallest cost) - so if it cuts down on that it will probably save money.

    People forget £399 over 3-4 years is not a lot of cash and companies have to consider the TCO not just the purchase price. If you can get better support (or support at all!) it can save far more.

  30. OldBiddie

    So ...

    It's impossible to print from an iPad and therefore saves money?


  31. Hooksie
    Thumb Up

    When you've all stopped frothing at the mouth....

    It could actually be a good idea....BUT...a few things need to be thought about first.

    1. Secure Server for transmitting and receiving emails and data

    2. Locked down policies to prevent unauthorised apps and data usage

    3. Password protection policies and remote wiping set-up

    You have to remember that enterprise businesses have been have been handing out expensive BlackBerry's for years and when I had mine at work you couldn't even use the camera due to the policies and only certain people could use the browser. The government would be far better talking to Apple directly who would no doubt give them a licensing deal and help setup the back-end services that would be needed to make it a workable solution. The MP's would all need training too on how to keep the device secure and how to use the applications they need.

    I would suggest that they would be unable to use the App store at all but bearing in mind how locked down Apple's AppStore is at least there is less chance of rougue applications stealing MP's (and our!) details. I would be terrified if they were let loose on Android pads! I still don't see why they should have the top of the range devices but I'm pretty sure they would get either a bulk buy deal for considerably less than full price or they would get a deal through 3 or Vodafone.

    It sticks in the craw because we have this image of MP's as caniving scum stealing all our money but in the vast majority of cases that's just not true. Take away 1 of their laptops, give them an ipad and cover with a built in BlueTooth keyboard. Job done.

  32. Toothpick

    Bloody MP's

    So this is how democracy is going to work in future: which party leader can get the highest score on Fruit Ninja.

  33. Gis Bun
    Thumb Down


    Talking about wasting money. i can see it now. These old farts in parliament trying to figure out how to use an iPad or maybe opening some malware and then getting all the other 649 MPs infected. :-)

  34. rbryanh


    As an American, I'm encouraged to learn that British MPs are apparently of such modest means that it's appropriate for taxpayers to buy each of them an iPad. This is in stark contrast to the US, where our wealth-based class system as resulted in the bulk of our "elected" officials being little more than puppets for the plutocrats who pay to put and keep them in office. Most of our officials are so awash in perfectly legal bribes that they own not merely their own iThingies, but significant chunks of Apple as well.

    It's good to know that there's someplace left on earth where the powerful retain some semblance of honor.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Honor, I nearly choked!

      No, they are richly rewarded, we even pay for their moats to be cleaned and for the ducks to have double glazed duck houses.

      I hesitate to infer they are intelligent (Bill Hicks would doubt they have thumbs) but they have akind of dumb greed instinct. They are still upset with us for questioning them claiming expenses for houses they never lived in and for mortgages that don't exist so they have to find some way to waste more of our money.

      To again quote to Mr Hicks, Viruses with shoes.

  35. Steven Roper

    Given Apple's control freakery

    Do all those MP's really want to store sensitive government info on a device which Apple can easily remotely reach into and delete or alter files at their whim? These MPs really need to take a good hard look at the intrusive, megalomaniac nature of the corporation they're dealing with before buying into the Apple hype.

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