Leicester City Council plans to spend anywhere from £38,000 to £40,000 on Apple iPads according to press reports.

Leicester City Council said four of its elected members would initially test drive the tablet device, and if proved beneficial the council would consider providing iPads to its remaining 50 members next year.

Councillors claim the 0.68 kg (1.5 pounds) could replace "too heavy" laptops and potentially save 90,000 a year on printing costs.

"The trial will be reviewed early next year against its potential to save money and help councillors respond more efficiently to the varied demands that their roles entail," said a spokeswoman for the council.

"We are fully aware of the pressures on public finances and if there are no efficiencies to be achieved, the trial will not go any further." Apple's iPad currently costs £429 rising to £699 depending on hard drive and 3G compatibility.

The news comes after recent reports Leicester City Council would have to  make around 1000 workers redundant in a cost cutting exercise. The Labour-controlled council is looking to save £19 million from its budget over the next four years.

Apple iPad

"I think it is utterly disgusting that when the council itself admits it may have to axe 1,000 jobs, it is planning to equip all the councillors with an iPad," said Richard Taylor of GMB union, which represents manual workers in local government and many others."

"The council knows it must save millions over the next few years, so what it is thinking about with this ridiculous plan is beyond me," Taylor added.

"We are talking about frontline services being cut, which could mean getting rid of people who tidy streets, empty bins and care for the elderly and vulnerable in care homes. And yet they think it's OK to spend £700 a time on iPads for councillors."

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