Full cost of those iPads

i pad council story . Picture Richard Ponter. 120317a.
i pad council story . Picture Richard Ponter. 120317a.

THE full cost to the public of a controversial move to hand Scarborough councillors new iPads can be revealed for the first time.

The 70 state-of-the-art tablet devices will cost nearly £11,000 a year and land Scarborough taxpayers a monthly bill of £912.50 for internet access.

However, council bosses have said the move, which will cost £10,950, will actually slash £53,000 a year from its budget.

That figure includes direct savings of £30,000 from salaries, with £10,000 recouped from the previous use of two printers.

The council will also save on £5,000 for printing, a further £5,000 for postage and have a £3,000 pot previously reserved for purchasing paper and envelopes.

The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, showed each iPad – which carry a bulk order purchase price of £160 each – have an internet charge of £18.25.

The council currently uses a system of laptops and printers which will be replaced by the iPads.

However, under the proposals, an initial 50 iPads will be given to its councillors, with a further 20 handed out to council officers on a shared agreement.

Only the 50 councillor iPads will be hooked up to the 3G internet connection though, with the remaining 20 using Wi-Fi.

The majority of councillors currently have a monthly allowance of £21.25 for broadband coverage on their laptops, which will be scrapped when the iPads are phased in.

The move attracted widespread reaction but was sanctioned after 42 councillors approved the plan in February. A council spokesman said: “The iPads will be phased in for all councillors over several months.

“The programme of implementation will include full training for all members and officers who require it. The laptops and printers will be removed as the implementation proceeds.

“The iPads for officers will be allocated to particular services rather than specific officers as they will be used by officers to read documents at meetings.

“Thus, it is envisaged that these will be shared in the same way that officers currently share laptops that are used for presentations.”

At a previous meeting, Scarborough councillors expressed differing opinions on purchasing the iPads.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, who represents Castle ward: “If we are going to have one I don’t think the taxpayer should pay for it.”