Publication - FOI/EIR release

The business case for providing funding in Fergusons Shipyard: FOI release

Published: 31 Oct 2018

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

Published:
31 Oct 2018
The business case for providing funding in Fergusons Shipyard: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02266  
Date received: 24 August 2018 
Date responded: 25 October 2018
 
Information requested
 
Any briefings or analysis on the business case for providing funding (grants, loans or investments) in Fergusons Shipyard in the last three years.
 
Response
 
The Scottish Government has provided two loan facilities to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in the last three years.

In September 2017, the Scottish Government agreed to provide a commercial loan facility of up to £15 million to FMEL. This facility was fully drawn in the financial year 2017-18 and the expenditure has been recorded in the Scottish Government’s Consolidated Accounts for 2017-18. In June 2018, the Scottish Government agreed a further commercial loan facility for FMEL of up £30 million. Actual expenditure under this facility will be recorded in the Scottish Government’s Consolidated Accounts for 2018-19.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under section 14(2) of FOISA a public authority is not required to comply with a request for information if it is identical or substantially similar to a request which it has already complied with, unless a reasonable amount of time has elapsed between the two requests. Your request for information as it relates to the £30m loan facility provided by the Scottish Government to FMEL in June 2018 is substantially similar to one we complied with in August 2018 (FoI/18/01835). You can find details of that request at the following link: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-01835/.
 
As regards the loan facility of up to £15 million agreed in September 2017, I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because of exemptions under sections of FOISA apply. The reasons why that exemptions applies are explained below.
 
Reasons for not providing information
 
Exemptions apply, subject to the public interest test.

An exemption under section 33 (1(b)) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to commercial information that may prejudice the company.

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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered development and implementation. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.

Exemptions also apply under sections 30(b(i)) and 30(b(ii)) as the information, if disclosed, could inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of exchange and advice of views.

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 allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers and each other. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues and exchange of views between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decisions made, which would not be in the public interest.
 
About FOI

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

foi-18-02266 Information requested

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG