FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1997

Financial and economic interests of the State and public bodies.

31

31. (1) A head may refuse to grant a request under section 7 in relation to a record (and, in particular, but without prejudice to the generality otherwise of this subsection, to a record to which subsection (2) applies) if, in the opinion of the head—

( a) access to the record could reasonably be expected to have a serious adverse affect on the financial interests of the State or on the ability of the Government to manage the national economy,

( b) premature disclosure of information contained in the record could reasonably be expected to result in undue disturbance of the ordinary course of business generally, or any particular class of business, in the State and access to the record would involve disclosure of the information that would, in all the circumstances, be premature, or

( c) access to the record could reasonably be expected to result in an unwarranted benefit or loss to a person or class of persons.

(2) This subsection applies to a record relating to—

( a) rates of exchange or the currency of the State,

( b) taxes, revenue duties or other sources of income for the State, a local authority or any other public body,

( c) interest rates,

( d) borrowing by or on behalf of the State or a public body,

( e) the regulation or supervision by or on behalf of the State or a public body of the business of banking or insurance or the lending of money or of other financial business or of institutions or other persons carrying on any of the businesses aforesaid,

( f) dealings in securities or foreign currency,

( g) the regulation or control by or on behalf of the State or a public body of wages, salaries or prices,

( h) proposals in relation to expenditure by or on behalf of the State or a public body including the control, restriction or prohibition of any such expenditure,

( i) property held by or on behalf of the State or a public body and transactions or proposed or contemplated transactions involving such property,

( j) foreign investment in enterprises in the State,

( k) industrial development in the State,

( l) trade between persons in the State and persons outside the State,

( m) trade secrets or financial, commercial, industrial, scientific or technical information belonging to the State or a public body and is of substantial value or is reasonably likely to be of substantial value,

( n) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to affect adversely the competitive position of a public body in relation to activities carried on by it on a commercial basis, or

( o) the economic or financial circumstances of a public body.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a case in which, in the opinion of the head concerned, the public interest would, on balance, be better served by granting than by refusing to grant the request under section 7 concerned.