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UK House of Commons contemplating iPad purchases for MPs

The U.K.'s House of Commons Commission is set to decide on a recommendation to provide iPads and other tablets to members of parliament.

The BBC reports that the Commons Administration Committee recommended the devices on the belief that it will save taxpayer money. According to the report, the Commission considered the recommendation on Monday evening.

MPs receive "three desktop computers and two laptops for office use," the publication noted. The committee claims the addition of tablets may save paper, while helping them do their work.

After conducting a trial, the committee advocated for a "rapid roll-out" of tablets last month. Though other devices were considered, Apple's iPad was held up as "ahead of the field with regard to functionality."

Despite the fact that Apple is expected to provide only a "very limited" discount on purchases of the iPad, Sir Alan Haselhurst, chairman of the administration committee, believes that tablets could result in "an overall saving for the public purse." The recent tablet trial was found to have reduced MPs' costs by "several thousand pounds" in printing and other costs.

"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," Haselhurst said.

Outfitting all 650 MPs with iPads could cost as much as £260,000, not including recurring costs for cellular data. According to the Daily Mail 70 MPs have already expensed iPad purchases.

The House of Commons changed its rules last year to allow tablets and BlackBerrys in the chamber. The first known use of an iPad at the despatch box came from Deputy Leader David Heath last October.