Analysis of Building a New Scotland: a stronger economy paper: FOI release

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

Information requested

  1. In the independence paper "building a new Scotland: a stronger economy it is suggested that custom checks will happen on the border in the event of independence and rejoining the EU, with Jamie Hepburn also saying this on May 21. Could you supply any analysis done on this about how much potential job losses this could cause? Could you also supply the cost/benefit analysis for this decision
  2. Full breakdown of the costs of the constitution independence paper and the Brexit paper released on June 19 and June 23.
  3. Minutes from all meetings involving Ross Greer and Jamie Hepburn since March 27
  4. How many independence papers are currently being worked on at the date of this FOI?
  5. All emails sent and received by the Scottish Government which mention the words "voluntary union."


  1. At the time of this request, no cost/benefit analysis has been conducted on this particular subject. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.
  2. An exemption under section 27(1) (information intended for future publication) of FOISA applies to the costs of “Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland” you have requested. The reason why this exemption applies is explained in Annex B of this letter.

    The recent Devolution since the Brexit Referendum document was published directly on to the Scottish Government website as part of a standard central publishing function. It is not possible to provide information on the costs incurred to create and publish the document because in line with usual practice, details of costs to create and publish individual documents in-house on the website are not routinely recorded as there is no business need to do so. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.
  3. Most of the information you have requested is included at Annex A. Exemptions under S.38(1)(b) and Section 30(c) of FOISA apply to some of the information requested. The reason why these exemptions apply are explained in Annex B of this letter.
  4. Decisions on the final content of Building a New Scotland series, including how many papers will be published in total, will be taken in due course. The Scottish Government has stated publicly that the series will cover topics including pensions and social security, EU membership and trade, and defence and security. An exemption under Section 29(1)(a) – Formulation or Development of Government Policy, applies to the information requested. The reasons why this exemption applies is explained in Annex B of this letter.
  5. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve all emails sent or received containing the phrase "voluntary union." we would need to conduct a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government. It may help if I explain that we file our information according to the subject matter, not by reference to particular phrases. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

    You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could restrict your request to a specific business area of the Scottish Government, as this would allow us to limit the searches that would require to be conducted. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at:

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI - 202300363564 - Annex A-B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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