FOI reference: FOI/17/02703
Date received: 11 November 2017
Date responded: 29 November 2017
Any correspondence and briefing on the Scottish Government's tax policy for the 16/17 and 17/18 Budgets.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under section 14(2) of FOISA a public authority is not required to comply with a request for information if it is identical or substantially similar to a request which it has already complied with, unless a reasonable amount of time has elapsed between the two requests. In this case your request asks for information on the 17/18 budget. This request is substantially similar to your previous request which we replied to on 24 October 2017 in FOI/17/02505. The Scottish Information Commissioner's guidance on repeated requests at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Law/FOISA-EIRsGuidance/Section14/Section14Overview.asp says that in considering whether a reasonable period of time has elapsed between the previous request and the new request, there are two questions which will help the authority:
(i) has the information changed? (ii) have the circumstances changed?
In this case, the information we hold is the same as at the time of your previous request. We have also considered the circumstances and have concluded that there has been no significant change. For these reasons, we consider that your request is repeated and we are not obliged to comply with it.
Your request also asks for information on 16/17 budget. Again whenever possible it is our aim is to provide information, however, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) 29(i) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption applies.
An exemption under section 29(i) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption refers to the formulation or development of government policy. Whilst a final policy decision for the 2016/17 was made and is public knowledge, the advice in informing that decision remains relevant to future policy development and therefore the decision to apply this exemption has been made. To note that the final income tax decision made for the 2016/17 budget was supported by a significant level of narrative in the draft budget document and during debates through the progress of the budget bill and Scottish rate resolution at the Scottish Parliament where the reasoning behind the Scottish Government's decision was set out.
This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
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