Lochaber smelter: FOI review

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

Information requested

  1. The marketing presentation 'Project Boots Long Dated Secured Financing Guaranteed by the Scottish Government', prepared by Morgan Stanley and dated November 2016.
  2. Any / all other marketing material held by the Scottish Government in connection with Project Boots bonds (e.g. prospectus, listing particulars, information memorandum, diligence reports etc.)

Upon receipt of your response you submitted the following request for review:

β€œThe response to my foi request isn't satisfactory so I am requesting that you (specifically you) carry out an internal review. The reasons for my dissatisfaction are:

The response is incomplete (more information is held than has been provided). The FOISA exemptions claimed do not apply.

  • The explanations provided lack precision. 
  • The public interest test has not been properly carried out.
  • The public interest favours disclosure.”


I have been asked to look at your request afresh, to decide whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications, as appropriate, or that a fresh decision should be substituted. I can confirm that I was not involved in the handling or decision-making around the original response. I have considered this case again, and I have conducted a comprehensive review of the response, and the reasons behind withholding the requested information. I have concluded that the original decision should be upheld with modifications and as such some additional information contained in the document in scope has been released.

While I have determined that some information should continue to be withheld under section 33(1)(b) for the reasons set out in the original response, I have identified further information that can be released without causing damage to the stakeholders involved and within the public interest. I have concluded that as the remaining information that continues to be withheld, relates to cash-flow, contingency planning and creditors, section 33(1)(b) – commercial interest – continues to apply because if the information was released it would negatively impact the business and potentially damage negotiations, day-to-day operations and other activity. Given the importance of the business to the economy of the West Highlands and beyond, along with the interests of the employees who work there, I have determined that the public interest test lies in favour of withholding the information. It is not in the public interest to release information that would prejudice this and deprive the taxpayer of best value for money. I have concluded therefore that, in respect of the information still withheld under FOISA at this time, disclosure would not be favourable.

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.

FOI - 202200287260 - Information release


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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