Metal manufacturing jobs in Scotland: FOI release

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

Information requested

Any information held on the number of jobs in the manufacturing of metal (e.g. crude steel, alluminium) in Scotland. I would also like to know, if possible, the number of sites they are situated at and how many jobs there are for each site. I would also like a timeline of these numbers going back to 2007.


Unfortunately, we cannot supply data on specific individual businesses, such as employment figures, from the statistical sources that we have access to because an exemption under section 26(a) of FOISA (disclosure prohibited by an enactment) applies to that information. The reason why that exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.

However, we have supplied the level of employment in these businesses as a whole for each year, sourced from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES)

This data is presented from 2009 to 2020 (the most recent data available). Data prior to that is not consistent, but is available if required from NOMIS, a service provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to give free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources. (

In case you have not used NOMIS previously:

  • Pick the dataset of interest e.g. Business Register and Employment Survey : open access.
  • Then it is a case of picking options on the left-hand side of the screen e.g. geography / date / employment status / industry and then populating fields on the right-hand side in turn.
  • 'Summary of selections' shows you what you have picked
  • Then click on 'Download data' (and an Excel spreadsheet is populated with your selections)

We have also included a count of business sites according to sizebands of the number of employees at each site. The business data we hold is mainly classified according to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes (, where a business or its business sites are classified according to its main activity. Data is only available on a consistent basis from 2010.



An exemption applies

An exemption under section 26(a) of FOISA (disclosure prohibited by an enactment) applies to all of the information requested because Section 9 of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947 prohibits the disclosure of this information. 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.

The main source of the Businesses in Scotland 2021 report ( is the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The IDBR is maintained by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and is a database of all enterprises that are registered for VAT and/or PAYE in the UK. All data on the IDBR are treated as RESTRICTED COMMERCIAL and are protected by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and by specific legislation. The disclosure of data relating to individual undertakings without consent is prohibited under the Statistics of Trade Act 1947.

The IDBR can only be used for valid statistical research purposes and the confidentiality of the data has to be preserved in outputs and publications. The main users of the IDBR are government departments and local authorities that are permitted to receive the IDBR information. However, it is possible for other researchers to apply for access to the IDBR for statistical analyses – guidance on how to request access is available, from the ONS, at:

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 - 202200271815 - Information Released - Table


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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