FOI reference: FOI/17/02405
Date received: 17 October 2017
Date responded: 10 November 2017
1. for internal communication and briefings from civil servants and Scottish Government Ministers on the borrowing limit as set out in the Scotland Act 2016;
2. whether there have been any discussions on what will happen when the Scottish Government reaches this limit; and
3. whether any modelling has been done on the future cost of interest repayments and when the Scottish Government will reach its borrowing limit if it continues to borrow at the maximum level of £450 million annually as set out in the 2017-18 budget.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the attached Annex.
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 29(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, relating to the formulation or development of Scottish Government policy, applies to that information.
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.
It is recognised 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 high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so would be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the modeling of borrowing might be disclosed in the near future, and therefore undermine or constrain the Government's view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
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 Andrew's House