Comparability of Ireland's GDP with Scotland's GDP: FOI release

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

Information requested

All internal Scottish Government discussion (including between Ministers, Civil Servants, and Special Advisers), 6th May 2021 to date, on the question of the comparability of Ireland's GDP with Scotland's GDP.


Some of the information you requested is available from the Scottish Government publication “Building a New Scotland: A stronger economy with independence”, endnote 38. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption under Section 30(c) (Prejudice to the Effective Conduct of Public Affairs) of FOISA applies to some the information you have requested. The reason why this exemption applies is because releasing drafts of unpublished Scottish Government papers, which may not reflect final decisions taken, could result in inaccurate information on the Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland being published, thereby undermining the Scottish Government’s ability to effectively and accurately engage and communicate with the public. This in turn would be likely to impair the Government’s ability to take forward its work on policy development for an independent Scotland. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption. 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, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in enabling the Scottish Government to effectively and accurately engage and communicate with the public on its proposals for an independent Scotland without the risk of these proposals being prejudiced by inaccurate information, which doesn’t reflect final decisions taken, being released while the Scottish Government’s work is still under development on a matter of significant political relevance and controversy.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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