FOI reference: FOI/17/02723
Date received: 10 November 2017
Date responded: 7 December 2017
You asked, in relation to the companies SIMEC LOCHABER HYDROPOWER LTD, SC549864 and LIBERTY ALUMINIUM LOCHABER, SC549732, to confirm:
1. Did the Scottish Ministers, directly or indirectly, hold any shareholding during the period December 15th 2016 to the date of your response letter (November 10th 2017)
2. If so, what was the level of the shareholding held, directly or indirectly, at December 16th 2016 (when the Companies House filing states that the holding was >75% and lists the Ministers of Scotland as the Person with Significant Control).
3. Did the Scottish Ministers, directly or indirectly, at any time during the period 16th December 2016 to 10th November 2017 hold 100% of the shares of the company?
In addition, in relation to the information given in the e-mail from Cameron Wright to Daniel Sheard on Tuesday 7th November 2017:
1. Can you please identify the "special advisers" to the Cabinet Minister for Rural Affairs and Connectivity (Fergus Ewing)?
2. Can you please confirm whether the "special advisers" are public servants or external consultants?
3. If the "special advisers" are not public servants, can you please identify which company / companies they work for?
The answer to each item is provided below:
In relation to both SIMEC LOCHABER HYROPOWER LTD and LIBERTY ALUMINIUM LOCHABER:
1. Scottish Ministers have held 0% of the shares, directly or indirectly, during the period December 15th 2016 to the date of the response letter (November 10th 2017).
2. The notification of the Scottish Ministers as a Person with Significant Control for both companies is due to a point in Scots Law regarding Share Pledges which requires that pledges be recorded in a company's Register of Member, a situation which would not necessarily apply to a company incorporated outwith Scotland; in particular, it would not apply to an English company.
3. Scottish Ministers, directly or indirectly, held 0% of the shares of either company at any time during the period 16th December 2016 to 10th November 2017.
In relation to the information given in the e-mail from Cameron Wright to Daniel Sheard on Tuesday 7th November 2017:
Special advisers are public servants who provide advice to the First Minister, Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers across all portfolio areas in the Scottish Government. Further information in relation to their individual roles is available: Special Advisers Role
As you will see, the special adviser for the Rural Economy & Connectivity is Kate Higgins.
In relation to the delay in the issuing of your previous FOI request, as background please find the enclosed correspondence between Kate and myself in relation to this matter.
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