back to article AWS rakes in half a billion pounds from UK Home Office

Amazon Web Services has scooped up almost half a billion pounds of UK taxpayer cash in return for public cloud Hosting Services. Puppet Amazon bankrolling industry lobbying against Microsoft Azure should surprise no one READ MORE The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise but there is no guarantee it'll reach that …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    The size of the award indicates the service will underpin the Home Office's digital operations, and it comes at an interesting time for AWS. The cloud giant and arch-rival Microsoft are under increasing scrutiny in the UK as the competition regulator examines just how level the playing field is.

    Both businesses have won huge contracts in the British public sector in recent years. As an example, AWS was tapped to provide storage for secret government files, and a four-year hyperscale cloud deal was inked with the UK tax office – HMRC – in 2021.

    It'd be very interesting to see how much tax AWS pay HMRC on the ~half billion

    1. Peter-Waterman1

      Guess it depends on how much profit Amazon makes in the UK

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        AWS parasites

        Nah, they'll do what they always do, offshore the profit into a low tax country and pay zero corporation tax. They contribute little to the UK and just take, take, take

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They don't make any profit in the UK. Do keep up.

  2. ChrisElvidge

    Magic Money Tree

    It does exist, then.

    How much has the home office wasted on previous "deals"?

    How many hospitals would this build?

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: Magic Money Tree

      Depending one the size and where it was not even one.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Magic Money Tree

        So many, depending on different size and location?

  3. devin3782

    Hmmm, are we sure using AWS is a great plan for secret goverment files based on how seemingly difficult it been for everyone else to stop their S3 buckets from leaking. I suppose on the flip side they'll be open secrets before long.

    1. Curlypig

      Interesting detail in the contract

      I wouldn't worry so much about the S3 buckets - the Home Office is so comfortable it has waived all AWS's security clearances for this contract (see technical requirements within the published contract)

      1. Gareth Holt

        Re: Interesting detail in the contract

        Also on that contract finder page it shows Amazon Web Services as an SME.

        So that's how more contracts are awarded to smaller organisations - just label anyone as such!

        1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

          Re: Interesting detail in the contract

          Based on how much tax Amazon pays in the UK, they are a SME...

          1. Gavin Park Weir

            Re: Interesting detail in the contract

            Looking at the contract I see that UK Government has signed up to a contract based on USD thus opening them up to FX risk over the life of the contract. Having signed various contracts with the government working while working for US companies they have always insisted that its impossible to to have USD rates.

            1. Snowy Silver badge

              Re: Interesting detail in the contract

              Contract in USD so they are signing with the UK arm and thus no UK tax to pay either.

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    We need a scale of cloud sizes

    The earlier contract was for two years and a "hyperscale cloud service". Which I assume is access to everything it may ever need in a hyperscaling sort of way ...

    This one is "£450,281,369 to be precise [and] runs for three years" - so I assume it's whatever is bigger than "hyperscale" ... more than everything ... Marketing Hyperbole scale? Government twaddle-speak scale? Backhander scale?

    Be interesting to see what the Government actually gets from this that makes it worth almost 10x the price of a "hyperscale" system.

    1. Lurko

      Re: We need a scale of cloud sizes

      The deal delivers two things - firstly a shed load of money to the private sector, which is a "win" because the Tories hate everything about the public sector, secondly it's a hugely expensive millstone they can put round the neck of the Home Office, and will be a burden on the next government, which clearly isn't going to be a Conservative one. If the terms of the contract have been tweaked enough for ministers to be pleased, then a huge over-run will occur, which the few remaining Tory morons will be cat-calling and mocking the next government for.

      Like many things the government are currently committing to, they're being done out of spite because they known their numbers up. It's a bit like when John Major privatised the railways - it was deliberately done in a fashion that would make undoing it so slow and complicated that nobody would attempt it. On that last one of course, it's rather amusing that it has been the Tories who have brought most of the railways under direct state control.

      1. ManMountain1

        Re: We need a scale of cloud sizes

        And a bit like when Labour left a note saying "I'm afraid to tell you there is no money left". Oh and Blair's abuse of PFI, that's been the gift that keeps giving.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AWS was tapped to provide storage for secret government files.

    Is it April 01 already ?

  6. xyz Silver badge


    Nuff said

  7. Dr Who

    Yes minister that's correct. Their CTO is based in Monaco and their Head of legal in Geneva. You'll need to visit them regularly if we sign this deal, so it's a bloody handy coincidence that you love F1 and skiing.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise"

    No, that's just the initial cost.

    The true cost is going to be more because cloud activity will ramp up and incur cost overruns, to no one's surprise.

    Uneless there's a clause in there that caps AWS on the amount it can invoice without capping the UK Home Office's activity ?

    I don't think so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise"

      Surely cost over runs are down to who ever is responsible for design and delivery of whatever will be running on AWS? In that respect it is the same as on-prem...

      For example, if Accenture were the delivery partner for an on-prem solution using HP servers, would you say that in the event of cost overrun it is HP's fault? Same with cloud, unless of course in this case if AWS is designing and delivering?

    2. OhForF' Silver badge

      Re: "The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise"

      AWS seems to expect a cost overrun and already made sure complaints about them not having capped the cost won't stick as the order form states:

      "It is acknowledged that Supplier is unable to and has no responsibility in terms of limiting Buyer to a maximum quantity or value of Services purchased under this Call-Off Contract."

      At least they make it clear to anyone reading the contract that it is the responsibility of the Buyer to check how much they order in the framework of that contract. AWS will be happy to provide and bill services for more than the contract states.

      1. Curlypig

        Re: "The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise"

        Problem is that the Home Office cloud engineers won't be reading the contract. It will be left to Home Office procurement/finance to pick up the tab after the engineers have deployed every widget, bell and whistle that they fancy playing with. A funny old world where non procurement professionals will be calling the fiscal shots over a contract worth nearly half a billion

  9. Pixel Green

    Taking All Bets

    1:10 odds for the actual cost will be the contract value

    2:5 odds that the cost will overrun

    1:2 odds that the cost will be at least double the initial contract value

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    that money, they could build their own government cloud service, and not have to worry about where the data will end up.

    Unless thats the plan all along.......

  11. wyatt

    My comment is that this shows what the Home Office are directly contracting, there will be a number of their suppliers who are also making use of AWS.

  12. doug_bostrom

    Interesting way of building ransomware. Data is not only volunteered but the victim pays in advance for capture, and builds the perp's option to deny access if payments stop.

    Practically speaking: once in, never out.


  13. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Seems the HO is quite expensive, in comparison to a few asylum seekers in dinghies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really. They cost billions a year just for the hotel bills.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        But not so much that it would be worth employing someone to get off their fucking arse and process a few asylum claims, eh? Of course not.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Well, they never asked to be jailed into hotels, did they?

        You don't think it might be Tory donors and cronies running these hotels?

        You do realise the UK tax payer has been had?

        You don't seriously think the Tory fat cats care one bit about immigration? (A.k.a "cheap, no-rights labour" -the modern equivalent of chimney sweep kids.)

  14. JamesTGrant

    Big number or small number?

    Assuming there are about 67million people in UK, then this cost is…. approx £2.25per person, per year.

    For comparison, a Starbucks latte costs about £3.30

    1. markr555

      Re: Big number or small number?

      A Latte here, and a latte there, it soon adds up to real money!

  15. Tuto2


    If you don't like somebody else eating your cake, make your own web services or do without them... Peddling for services from other countries is the norm in Britain since there seems that the Brits just became paper pushers and unable to develop your own digital services or do without them on your Hawei to the stone age.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You could buy from BT Cloud Compute… however I recommend you wouldn’t and so did EE who moved their PoS System off it to AWS it was that bad.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge


        I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if BT outsourced it, or most of it, to abroad.

  16. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Playing field

    The thing is, the environment to run business in the UK is very much non-existent.

    It is very unlikely, with our level of taxation, poor public services, lack of infrastructure, incompetence of subsequent governments and departments that any meaningful competition to these corporations could have materialised.

    If they wanted a true level playing field, they would have blocked multinational corporations from bidding.

    They were able to develop themselves in a business friendly country and then come here take all the cream.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Playing field

      I thought you'd mention poor eduction as well,

      Not getting better since the Tories made it very, very expensive to get a Uni education.

  17. Binraider Silver badge

    When it comes to Tax return time do you think this income will be conveniently papered over?

    Of course it will.

  18. Warmtoffee

    A bonus from Boris

    Boris and his pals gave Bezos more millions by uploading the EPC register for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to the AWS cloud just to be trendy. Scotland had more sense and stuck to the tried and tested Landmark system. Back in 2020, Boris and his SPADs lost a couple of million certificates in the process. If Landmark can still produce the EPC pdf files, then how long before one of the three UK subsidiaries votes to go back to the simple pre-Brexit XML system ?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like