- How did Neil Gray travel to Iceland?
- What date did he leave for Iceland and the date that he returned to Scotland?
- What was the cost of travel and accommodation, as well as any other costs?
- [If flown by plane] What was the total air miles of the trip?
- The minutes of Neil Gray’s meeting with the Prime Minister of Iceland.
Mr. Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, travelled to Iceland by plane to take part in the Wellbeing Economy Forum on 13/06/2023. He returned on 15/06/2023.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don’t have the information are explained below.
Firstly, in relation to air miles, this is not something we have a record of and are therefore unable to answer. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we intend to publish that information within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until then, rather than release this routinely published information before the planned publication date. This applies to your request regarding the cost of travel and accommodation. Details of all Ministerial engagements and expenses are proactively published by the Scottish Government, including the costs of travel and accommodation. The information can be accessed at the below link: https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/.
An exemption under section 32(1)(a)(i)of FOISA (international relations) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the United Kingdom and the government of Iceland. The effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between the UK Government and other States. In this case, disclosing information about Scottish Government engagement with Iceland would substantially prejudice relations between the UK and Iceland because there is a need to maintain confidential dialogue in order to ensure that future engagement can take place in a spirit of trust and openness.
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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the UK Government is able to maintain good relations with other States, in order to protect and promote UK interests abroad. There can be no public interest in jeopardising those relations by the Scottish Government disclosing this information.
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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