Small Business Bonus analysis or briefings by civil servants: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02527  
Date received: 12 September 2018
Date responded: 10 October 2018
Information requested
Details of any analysis or briefings in 2017 or 2018 by civil servants on the Small Business Bonus, including any relevant documents.
1. Some of the information you have requested is available from:

Scottish Local Government Finance Stats: published Feb 2017 and Feb 2018 (table 1.16)

Previous FOI request relating to the SBBS available at, /publications/foi-18-00867/
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.  
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 under FOISA that information is exempt. The exemptions that apply are explained below.

2. The Scottish Government does hold a number of pieces of analysis and briefings that fall within the scope of your request. I attach below excerpts that relate to SBBS from various briefings and analysis. I also include copies full copies of briefings and analysis where they relate only to SBBS.

3. An exemption(s) under section s.38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies to data that it is considered to be the personal data of a third party.

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. The reason being that the document in question identifies specific ratepayers properties and the reliefs they receive. As well, it only has reference to the terms of your request tangentially, with only a few listed properties being receipt of SBBS. Therefore, we have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.

An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) also applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to ministers before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice would substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future.
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foi-18-02527 Information released


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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