Legal considerations regarding Dalzell Steelworks: FOI release
- Economic Development Directorate
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
“1. Please provide a copy of the information the Scottish Government holds on how disputes about state aid rules are resolved post-Brexit. Does the Scottish Government have any documentation which states that the Court of Session and Supreme Court now have responsibility for interpreting and ruling on any dispute relating to a historic transaction that may have been in violation of pre-Brexit state aid rules?
2. Please provide a copy of the legal advice that the Scottish Government has received since 2015 in relation to (a) the purchase of the Dalzell Steelworks and (b) state aid rules relating to the facilitation of this sale.
3. How much has the Scottish Government spent on legal advice in relation to the Dalzell Steelworks since 2015, broken down by year.
4. Please provide all information and documentation that the Scottish Government holds on whether (a) Tata Steel or (b) the Scottish Government have any claim to the land upon which the Dalzell steelworks are situated in the event that Liberty House decides to close the site for reasons other than the company ceasing to exist.
5. What risk assessment has the Scottish Government undertaken of whether Tata Steel (a) may or (b) will initiate legal proceedings against it in relation to the facilitation of the sale of the Dalzell steelworks. Please provide a copy of any assessment conducted or any indication to this effect received by the Scottish Government from the company.”
1. All of the information you have requested is available from the European Commission website: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:12019W/TXT(02)&from=EN.
Article 93 of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and European Union describes the State Aid and European Anti-Fraud Office procedures that apply following the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
2. 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 exemptions under sections
- Section 30(b)(ii) – Free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
- Section 33(1)(b) – Substantial prejudice to commercial interests.
- Section 36 (1) - Claim to confidentiality of communications.
- Section 38(1)(b) – Personal information.
of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
3. In 2016-17, the Scottish Government spent £28,488.61 (excluding VAT) on legal advice pertaining to Liberty Steel Dalzell Ltd. For 2020-21, the total is £25,816.35 (excluding VAT) and for 2021-22 the total is £106,508.25 (excluding VAT). The total spend is £160,813.21 (excluding VAT).
4. All of the information you have requested is available via the following links:
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
The redactions applied to the Business Purchase Agreement agreed between Scottish Ministers and TATA, published in response to FOI request 202100212787; and the Business Sale Agreement between Scottish Ministers and Liberty House, published in response to FOI request 202100216003, relate to information outwith the scope of this request. The clauses of the Business Purchase Agreement and Business Sale Agreement of relevance to the transfer of land title were published unredacted.
5. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because it has not undertaken a risk assessment of the particular scenario you proposed. Scottish Government officials are however keeping open a channel of communication with Tata Steel. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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