Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information relating to GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel: FOI release

Published: 16 Jun 2021

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

Published:
16 Jun 2021
Information relating to GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100201796
Date received: 14 May 2021
Date responded: 14 Jun 2021
Information requested

Please provide all Government communication with Mr Sanjeev Gupta of GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel and/or with his company officers in relation to the outstanding £ 7 million loan that remains unpaid as of todays date that is securitised over Dalzell and Clydebridge plants.

I also require all communication since Greensill Capital announced liquidation on 8th March 2021 and withdrew funding for GFG/Liberty. Furthermore please provide all communication from Fergus Ewing to any and all employees of Liberty Steel, GFG Alliance or any associated companies under the control of Mr Sanjeev Gupta.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested as exemptions under FOI(S)A apply. Further information on what exemptions apply and why can be found in the Annex.

Please find the correspondence found that falls within the scope of your request attached separately.

ANNEX

LIST OF DOCUMENTS SUPPLIED
Supporting Document 1 – 27/04/21 to Sanjeev Gupta regarding Greensill
Supporting Document 2 – 05/05/21 to Sanjeev Gupta regarding Lochaber

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
Section 33(1)(b) – Commercial Interest and the Economy

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the business. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of the company in question.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking into 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 to ensure full transparency. However, this is outweighed by the public interest as there is a risk to the companies commercial interests.

Section 30(b)(ii) – Free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation

Exemptions under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank advice and exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

The exemption recognises the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because discussions on the issue are still ongoing and final decisions have not been taken, and these discussions relate to a sensitive or controversial issue.

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 exemptions.

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 free and frank advice and views to Ministers. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, 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.

Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
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