Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence relating to meetings with Airbnb representatives: FOI release

Published: 22 Jul 2021

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

Published:
22 Jul 2021
Correspondence relating to meetings with Airbnb representatives: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100216563
Date received: 22 Jun 2021
Date responded: 20 Jul 2021
Information requested

1. Any ministerial briefing papers prepared in advance of meetings between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of Airbnb.com during the 2016-2021 Scottish Parliament, as well as the current Parliament.

2. Any minutes, notes, and action plans from meetings between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of Airbnb.com during the 2016-2021 Scottish Parliament, as well as the current Parliament.

3. Any correspondence between the Cabinet Secretary and any Ministers with responsibility for Housing and any representatives (including third party representatives) of Airbnb.com during the 2016-2021 Scottish Parliament, as well as the current Parliament.

Response

Ahead of responding to each of the questions you have raised, I have set out details of Ministers with responsibilities for housing during the 2016-2021 parliamentary session (session five), and current parliamentary session.

2016 – 2021

  • Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities – Angela Constance (2016 – 2018)
  • Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government – Aileen Campbell (June 2018-2021)
  • Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning* – Kevin Stewart (2016 – 2021)

*Planning added to the brief from 2018

Current session

  • Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government – Shona Robison (2021 – present)

I attach a copy of most of the information you requested in the format you asked for. Certain exemptions apply to a small amount of the information you requested. Reasons for not providing information are set out below:

An exemption applies

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data. Where this applies (eg names/contact details of individuals) those details have been redacted because disclosing them would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test An exemption under sections 30(b)(i) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank provision of advice, and free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The exemption applies in respect of a background note within one document.

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.

These exemptions apply 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 exemptions recognise the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to seek advice and views from officials before reaching the settled public position.

We consider that any public interest in release is outweighed by the public interest in enabling Government Ministers to be provided with full and candid advice from officials to enable them to consider their decisions. 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.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to a small amount 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 the business mentioned.

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. However, it is outweighed by the public interest in protecting the commercial interests of businesses. The small amount of commercial information contained within one document has been marked as "REDACTED s33(1)(b)" in the attached correspondence.

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
EH1 3DG