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Scottish Government Almost Doubles Spend on AWS During Pandemic

David Paul

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Amazon Web Services
Cloud spending has almost doubled over the last year to support Scots through Covid-19.

The Scottish Government has spent millions on Amazon Web Services (AWS) over the period of the pandemic, according to data collected in an FOI request.

Over the last four years, Government spending on AWS has increased more than three times, from around £2.5m in 2018/19 to more than £7.2m in 2020/21.

The largest increase in spending was over the period of the pandemic, which saw a boost of more than £3m to mitigate the negative effects of the lockdowns across the country.

The money spent over the last year is likely due to staff being forced to work from home and services move online. The Scottish Government has looked to private cloud services to boost online storage space.

Additionally, data from the government website revealed increased spending on Microsoft products also nearly doubled during the reporting period. That figure rose from £38,348 in 2019/20 to £66,376.

In a statement, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “With the vast majority of our staff working from home, it is essential that they have the right products to allow them to work safely and efficiently in the interests of the people of Scotland.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, we regularly publish the details of any purchases over £5,000 made using our electronic purchasing cards.”

They added: “We recognise public procurement spend as a key driver of economic activity in Scotland.

“In 2019/20, over £120 million of our spending went directly to SMEs, with £30 million more shared between Scottish subcontractors.”


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Amazon Web Services has also recently secured a contract over the next 10 years to host a national digital platform for healthcare in Scotland worth up to £15m. NHS Scotland has also been working closely with Microsoft to develop ‘check in Scotland’ app, which launched in April.

The move to online during the pandemic has proven to be lucrative for Amazon, with its AWS arm announcing revenues of $45.3 billion in 2020, up almost 30% compared to 2019. This in turn made over $13.5 billion in operating profits for the company, contributing around 63% of Amazon’s operating profits for 2020.

The announcement of the latest Scottish Government spending of this magnitude is particularly jarring as it was recently announced that Amazon paid no corporation tax on its £38bn sales in Europe.


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David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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