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Welsh council's unused mountain of 2,400 laptops

A year later, 'discussions' are 'near conclusion'

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A Welsh council kept 2,400 laptops, which were supposed to be used by school pupils, in storage for at least a year because it couldn't figure out what to do with the kit.

Torfaen County Borough Council bought a batch of 8,642 laptops in March last year for itself, Monmouthshire council and Newport council. Torfaen footed the bill for the computers, which were earmarked for 14 to 16-year-olds and their teachers, thanks to a Welsh government grant worth £9.8m and £2.28m it contributed with Monmouthshire.

More than 6,000 of the laptops were sent out to schools, but the remainder - now worth about £1m - sat unused because Newport council didn't actually want them, a spokesman for Torfaen said.

A Newport council spokesperson told South Wales Argus newspaper that the local authority did discuss the laptops but never agreed to the arrangement because it thought it would be of limited benefit to the city.

Torfaen tried to find another council to take the laptops but it hasn't found anyone too interested in the now out of warranty, but still operational, HP laptops.

Councillor Mary Barnett said Torfaen was in talks with the Welsh government to sort the problem out.

"Discussions with the Welsh Government over a solution to the surplus laptops are constructive and near conclusion," she said. ®

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