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Amazon awarded new UK government contract

(Image credit: Amazon)

The UK government has awarded Amazon an extension to an ongoing cloud contract, raising concerns in some quarters about the procurement process.

According to The Telegraph, the Government Digital Service (GDS) - which manages the gov.uk website - had awarded Amazon an $8.5m contract in June this year, for a "flexible hosting environment for digital products".

The contention surrounds the fact the department has ties with Amazon executive Doug Gurr, who was brought on board in an advisory capacity.

Some MPs, including former chair of the DCMS select committee Damian Collins, said “fairness and transparency” are a necessity whenever the government awards a contract. “It should be neither a perception nor a reality for one company to get special treatment.”

Amazon has played down the accusations, explaining the contract had been running for years before Gurr joined the team.

“This is a contract renewal which was awarded well before members of the Digital Economy Council were asked to contribute to a review of the Government’s Digital Data and Technology Function. To suggest that review is connected to this contract award in any way is misleading and untrue,” said a company spokesperson.

The Cabinet Office, meanwhile, said it would "continue to consult members of the Digital Economy Council as it considers how to implement the recommendations."

"As always, robust measures are in place to manage possible conflicts and the perception of conflicts," it added.

Amazon has also found itself at the heart of conflict in the United States over a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract , originally awarded to competitor Microsoft. Amazon claims the decision was influenced by the US President's personal distaste for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.