Leicester City Council is planning to furnish each and every one of its 54 councillors with an Apple iPad next year.
In justification of the expense, the council has claimed that laptops, which have suited people in all manner of professions perfectly well for years, are far too heavy and cumbersome to be lugged about everywhere.
The iPads to be issued will include 3G connectivity, the Telegraph reports. One of the first councillors to be given Apple's tablet computer on a trial basis, Ross Grant, has claimed this will increase his productivity. Grant envisions a man-about-town scenario, dutifully strolling the streets of Leicester and taking immediate action on any issues raised by passing constituents.
The combined cost of a 64GB, 3G-enabled iPad in every briefcase would be a smidgen under £38,000. But this expense will, according to another councillor, be recouped by the resulting £90,000 reduction in paper costs.
Unsurprisingly, the scheme has drawn a great deal of criticism, including that of Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Although agreeing that the council should reduce paper use wherever possible, he thinks this is the wrong way to go about it. Talking to the Telegraph, he said the increase in council tax over the past decade is evidence that the council needs to cut unnecessary costs, but that's something not aided by buying expensive, flashy devices when cheaper laptops would suffice.
In light of the council's plan, a recent report regarding the sort of people who own iPads makes for interesting reading.