Publication - FOI/EIR release

Rural Housing Fund: FOI release

Published: 10 Sep 2020

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

10 Sep 2020
Rural Housing Fund: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000063862
Date received: 20 Jul 2020
Date responded: 17 Aug 2020
Information requested

Information on the Rural Housing Fund:

  • Details of each approved project (whether completed or not)
  • Details of any pending projects yet to be approved
  • Details of unsuccessful applications to the fund.

Please find attached document (Reference FOI-RHF-0720) with details of project applications to the main Rural Housing Fund. An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of applicants. Disclosing the information would be likely to give applicants who are still to let contracts from competitively tendered works costs a disadvantage if any future tendering exercise was required, which could substantially prejudice applicants ability to gain competitive tenders and so could significantly harm the viability of their project.

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 and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money.
However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of applicants that are still to competitively tender for contractors.

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