Government reveals over £6.5 million spent on storage

Government departments spent more than £6.5 million between May and September this year hiring storage space, according to recently released figures.

This information was revealed in the government’s spending records, where each department had to publish every transaction involving more than £25,000.

Virtually all this money was paid to archiving firms, who have contracts for looking after most of the government’s paper records.

Iron Mountain, Britain’s biggest archiving company, earned over £3.5 million from government contracts. One of its main competitors, TNT, also received over £1 million, for a mixture of storage and logistics work.

Crown Records Management, part of the larger Crown Relocations family, also have government archiving contracts worth nearly £29,000.

Some parts of the big departments spent more than others. The leader by far was the UK Borders Agency, part of the Home Office, which accounted for £2.8 million all by itself, entirely for storing records. 

The Department of Health had the biggest single transaction for storage - £1,117,663 with generic drug-maker Actavis UK, presumably for the storage of medical supplies.

The Special Investigations branch of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, also spent over £336,000 on the storage of ‘seized goods’ – potentially including weapons and drugs.

The government has published these records of its spending to increase public access to information and put more scrutiny on the civil service.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, writing in the Guardian, said: “This government should be held to account for every penny it spends and I believe that with the weight of public interest on their shoulders, greater transparency will drive departments to make the right decisions about how they spend taxpayers’ money.”