Correspondence regarding spend to mitigate UK welfare policy in Aberdeen City Council: FOI release

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

Information requested

All correspondence, WhatsApp and text messages in relation to a parliamentary question concerning Scottish Government spend to mitigate UK welfare policy in Aberdeen City Council within the last five years.


In your correspondence you also noted that this parliamentary question was withdrawn. This parliamentary question was not withdrawn and was answered in the Chamber on Thursday 14th September. I enclose the response below for further clarification:

"Over the last five years, including this fiscal year, the Scottish Government has spent more than £733 million to mitigate UK Government welfare policies.

Although we are unable to break this down by local authority area, over the last five years we have invested £17.2 million in the Aberdeen City Council region through the Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments, to mitigate amongst other things, the bedroom tax, benefit cap, and local housing allowance. Additional funding has been made available through Universal Credit Scottish Choices and advice services. £11 million has also been provided through the Scottish Child Payment."

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.

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 exemption under section s.38 (1) (b) personal information of FOISA which identifies personal data.

Exemption under Section 30(b) (i) (the Free and Frank provision of Advice), has also been applied because it relates to communications between officials.

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. The exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views. This recognises the need for officials to have a private space in which to conduct frank discussion. This private and safe thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered based on the best available advice so that good decisions can be taken. Premature disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which in turn will undermine the quality of decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information regarding Scottish Government spend on mitigating UK welfare policy in the Aberdeen City Council area as part of open, transparent, and accountable government, and to inform public debate. That interest is satisfied through the parliamentary answer set out above.

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FOI 202300376380 - Information Released - Annex


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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