Under a previous FOI request I read that you awarded Marine Harvest (now MOWI) £725192 for Thermolicer (Ref SCO1661). My information request is simple; was this money a gift from the SG or a grant. If it was a grant has the money been returned?
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
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, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Response to your request
We assume the previous FOI to which you refer above was case reference number FoI/19/00442, and the date of the Scottish Government response was 7 March 2019. Please find a copy of our response here: Financial support paid to the Scottish fish farming industry: FOI release - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The answer to your question is that an initial grant award of £2.2 million was made from Scottish Government to the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), as outlined in the previous FOI. Of that award, £725,192 was in relation to a Thermolicer to be purchased by Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd (now MOWI).This amount equated to 25% of the total cost of the Thermolicer.
SAIC duly reimbursed this proportion of the costs of the item to Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd (now MOWI) following evidenced payment for the equipment, which Scottish Government then duly paid to SAIC.
We would also like to point out that the reimbursement ultimately totalled £620,398 rather than the initial £725,192 awarded, due to the eventual lower overall cost of the Thermolicer.
This grant money has not been repaid to the Scottish Government.
Further background information provided under regulation 9 of the EIRs (our duty to provide advice and assistance).
Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) changed its name in 2021 to Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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