Correspondence regarding the Tourism Levy/Tax: FOI Release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02397
Date received: 6 September 2018
Date responded: 4 October 2018

Information requested

All copies of all communication (Email/Letter) from Government Minister's, Cabinet Secretary's etc and their respective offices including Special Advisors relating to the relating to the tourism levy/tourist tax or related term from December 2017 to present.


I attach a copy 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 exemptions under sections s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice) and s.29(1)(a) (Formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) of FOISA apply to that information.  The reasons why the exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information

Exemptions under sections s.30(b)(i) (Free and frank provision of advice) and s.29(1)(a) (Formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested. 

These exemption are 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 of the high profile of views surrounding a potential tourist tax.  However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can provide full and frank advice to Ministers, as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on the various tourist tax proposals, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy that is sound and likely to be effective.  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 between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of the decision making process, 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 FOI Responses

Correspondence Part 1
Correspondence Part 2
Correspondence Part 3


Please quote the FOI reference  

Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: CEU
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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