Publication - FOI/EIR release

Spend and continued support re community purchased land: FOI review

Published: 12 Sep 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
12 Sep 2018
Spend and continued support re community purchased land: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/18/01983 
Date received: 20 July 2018  
Date responded: 28 August 2018 
Information requested
Would you please send me details of all the money spent so far on community purchase of land and the numbers of people in the communities that the money benefited since the SNP government took charge of the policy of community purchase of Scottish land until the present day. Please include current applications for funding as well as future funding estimates for those registered but not quite purchased yet. On a year by year basis.
Also please detail separately how much money Scottish Government has had to commit annually to manage and keep these community projects viable. Please include the costs of the whole policy from the costs of legal awards, valuers costs, costs of drawing up Community Group business plans and all money’s awarded from funds including the Scottish Land Fund.
Response
I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). 
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.
1. While appreciating that there can be differences of view as to how to define the number of beneficiaries, the Scottish Government accepts the definition of direct beneficiaries used by BIG Lottery as the individual members of the acquiring organisation.
In relation to your example about the number of people benefiting from the acquisition by the North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC), of the isle of Ulva, the Scottish Government accepts the basis of the assessment adopted by the Scottish Land Fund (SLF). This defines direct beneficiaries as the members of the organisation taking ownership of the asset. In the case of NWMCWC, at the time of application their membership stood at 198, comprising 152 ordinary members and 46 associate members (who have no vote). The number of direct beneficiaries of the acquisition is therefore 152. However, there are also indirect beneficiaries of the acquisition: i.e., the number of people living in the immediate area who could potentially benefit. In the case of Ulva, this number is estimated at 400. The area designated (i.e. the area used for the purpose of the ballot carried out in connection with the Community Right to Buy application) takes account of the very close proximity of the island to the mainland, meaning that benefits (for example, from tourism; or initiatives to repopulate the island which would help sustain the local primary school) can be shared by the wider community in neighbouring north-west Mull, as well as the current and future residents of Ulva itself.
SG does not hold the number of direct beneficiaries for every award that has been granted through the SLF. This information is available through the Big Lottery; they can be contacted by writing to:
Information Requests
BIG Lottery
2 St James Gate
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4BE
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
2. Where figures in the column for Stage 1 awards record ‘0’, this means that either they were invited to continue to stage 2 with no stage 1 funding or that they were unsuccessful in receiving stage 1 funding.
3. In relation to Lismore: in a very small number of cases, the conclusion of the feasibility study is that a community group should not proceed with the proposed acquisition, for example if financial and other risks involved are disproportionate. This was the case with Lismore.
4. Please refer to the answer given above to question 1.
5. Question 5 has been dealt with as a new FOI request (reference: FOI/18/02219).
About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG