COP27 cost overview: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked for the following information:

As Scottish schools make deep cuts due to you overspending £3.5 billion and robbing Scottish children of £ 20 m for an Independence campaign and rural bus services serving 500000 Scots are cut you pose as a world leader at COP27 My FOI questions are: How much will this trip in total cost the British taxpayer; How many aides went with you and what are their names and roles; How many tons of wasteful gases were used up for your flights to and from Was Mr Harvie with you and why?

Re the £20 million reserved for an Independence campaign How much has been spent to date and on what … details and invoices please


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. We have answered your questions where possible and explained where we are unable to do that at this time.

The information on cost and official representatives is currently incomplete. We are collating the cost information and aim to publish it within the next few months.

Mr Harvie did not attend COP27... - what else can we say on this? On this it's just part of the representatives issue which we aim to publish.

In regards to flight emissions, before arranging to travel on official business, Scottish Government employees and Ministers are first required to consider if their journey is really necessary. If they conclude that they are unable to conduct their business by other means, such as video or teleconferencing, they are then required to travel in the most cost–effective and time-efficient method available. Travel is an essential part of official government business we take our responsibility to travel sustainably very seriously and aim to use more sustainable forms of transport wherever possible.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Your request asks for information on the £20m provisional allocation for an independence referendum which was included in the Resource Spending Review publication. As this allocation is for the 2023-24 financial year, expenditure from this allocation would take place in the future.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not currently hold the information you have requested.

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we aim to publish that information by 31st January 2023 which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release some of this routinely published information before the planned publication date.

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 some public interest in release because the Scottish Government should provide information about its presence at COP, and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date as we would only be providing partial information.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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