Public spending on Ministers' international trips 2013-2017: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/00427
Date received: 22 February 2017
Date responded: 28 August 2017

Information requested

All expenses met by the public purse, from Ministers' trips outside the UK in the last four years.

  • These should show which Minister was on the trip, how many officials accompanied them, the cost of flights, the cost of other travel, the length of trip, the name of the hotel stayed in, and the hotel bill.

  • A line on the purpose of the trip.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you have asked for that is held by the Scottish Government in Annex A.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide details of accommodation in certain locations. An exemption under section 39(1) (health and safety) applies to that information. The reason why that exemption applies is explained below.

In addition, the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. We are unable to provide an exact breakdown for all "Cost of Minister's Travel and Subsistence" beyond the figures provided . However, these figures do provide the total for all spend/expenses for each visit.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 39(1) of FOISA applies to some the information you have requested in relation to Ministerial accommodation in Brussels and First Ministerial accommodation in Dublin. This exemption applies because we consider that release would be likely to endanger the safety of Ministers in these frequently visited destinations because the same hotels are usually used in these locations. Release of this information would therefore be likely to reveal which hotels Ministers will use in future and enable people to work out the future dates on which they would be expected to stay in those hotels based on their previous patterns of attendance at particular meetings or events in either of those cities.

This exemption is also 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. While we recognise that there is some public interest in release of this information in order to promote openness, there is a much greater public interest in avoiding significant risks to the safety of Ministers.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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