iPads for councillors?

The iPad 3G.
The iPad 3G.

A ROW has broken out in Glasgow city council over the authority’s propsal to issue 3G iPads to staff and select councillors.

The council proposes to issue the hi-tech gear for six weeks and they will be given to 13 council staff and seven councillors — four Labour and three opposition members — to see if it would produce cost savings to the authority.

Cllr David Meikle

Cllr David Meikle

The council has said it is a pilot project to see if the equipment makes the work of the council more efficient and cut down on printing costs.

A council spokesman said: “The purpose of this pilot is to test whether we can be more efficient, reduce the amount of paper we use and save money for the council tax payer.

“If we find that we can indeed be more efficient, it would be utterly perverse to forego that saving for fear of being criticised.

“Anyone who suggests it would be a waste of money is deliberately missing the point”.

One councillor, however, does actually believe it to be a waste of money, and claims the equipment already issued to councillors should be sufficient for their needs.

Councillor David Meikle is the representative for the southside ward of Pollokshields.

Councillor Meikle has refused use of one of the iPads and said that he has all the equipment he needs.

He told The Extra he was not convinced by the argument put forward by the council.

He said: “I just don’t see the cost savings or benefits of giving all 79 councillors and senior staff free iPads.”

Councillor Meikle argued that it would not make councillors more efficient in their day-to-day work.

He continued: “Instead it seems more about having the latest luxury gadget — and that isn’t right and isn’t a good use of limited resources.

“Hard pressed taxpayers will rightly be outraged at this proposal, especially when things are tough and the council is making cutbacks.

“What we should also remember is councillors just got new laptops and BlackBerrys in May.

“Couple this with the fact that these iPads are 3G models so there will be a need for an expensive monthly contract.

“In addition, the council will need to issue work mobiles because iPads aren’t phones!

“Therefore the council needs to have a rethink about this.”