SKIPTON town councillors have agreed to spend up to £3,000 to buy tablet computers for all members and senior staff.

Councillors at yesterday’s Finance and Policy Committee agreed to go ahead and investigate further the purchase of tablets in order to bring the council into line with other local authorities and allow it to cut down on its use of paper documents.

The mayor Cllr Peter Madeley however said the tablets should only be provided to those councillors who wanted one and would use them, and suggested agendas be electronically screened during meetings for members of the public.

Council leader, Cllr Robert Heseltine, while supporting the purchase, said you could ‘take a horse to water, but you couldn’t make it drink’. “At Craven District Council’s Planning Committee meeting this week, there were just two members using tablets, the rest were using their paper copies of the agenda, and that also goes for meetings at North Yorkshire County Council,” he said.

But Cllr Andy Solloway, who sits on all three councils, said he had been cynical when first supplied with a tablet but had been fully converted and said they would help communications between the authorities.

The tablets will be encrypted to protect any potential sensitive details getting into the wrong hands.