- 10 Sep 2020
Date received: 20 Jul 2020
Date responded: 17 Aug 2020
Regarding the Islands Housing Fund (IHF), which I understand "provides £5 million ring-fenced for islands housing projects" between 2016 and 2021 (https://www.gov.scot/policies/more-homes/rural-housing-fund/)
Please release the following information:
- Details of each approved project (whether completed or not)
- Details of any pending projects yet to be approved
- Details of unsuccessful applications to the fund
Please find attached document (Reference FOI-IHF07/20) with details of project applications to the main Islands Housing Fund. An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of applicants. Disclosing the information would be likely to give applicants who are still to let contracts from competitively tendered works costs a disadvantage if any future tendering exercise was required, which could substantially prejudice applicants ability to gain competitive tenders and so could significantly harm the viability of their project. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of applicants that are still to competitively tender for contractors.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House