FoI Request: Amount paid per year to repay Slavery Abolition Act loan

In response to a story repor­ted via a num­ber of news sites and explor­ing a thread in my own research, I sub­mit­ted a Free­dom of Inform­a­tion (FoI) request to Her Majesty’s Treas­ury on the 7th April. In brief, I reques­ted fur­ther details on the amount paid per year to repay the Slavery Abol­i­tion Act loan, a loan taken by the UK gov­ern­ment in 1834 to com­pensate’ slave own­ers for their loss of prop­erty’. Shock­ingly, this loan was being repaid up until 2015 by UK tax­pay­ers.

I made my request using the amaz­ing What­DoThey­Know site. I’ve included the text from my request below for con­text.
Screen shot of written response by HM Treasury to FOI request

To Her Majesty’s Treas­ury,

As widely repor­ted, in 1833 – 35 [1] the UK gov­ern­ment bor­rowed £20m, 40% of its nation­al budget, to recom­pense” slave own­ers for los­ing their prop­erty” [2] — under the Slavery Abol­i­tion Act. On 9 Feb­ru­ary 2018, HM Treas­ury announced (via Twit­ter) that this loan had been paid in full. A related FOI request that HM Treas­ury respon­ded to on 9 Feb­ru­ary 2018 sets the date of the loans con­sol­id­a­tion’ to be the 1 Feb­ru­ary 2015: The 4% Con­sol­id­ated Loan was redeemed on 1 Feb­ru­ary 2015” [3].

Under the Free­dom of Inform­a­tion act, I request fur­ther details of this loan. Spe­cific­ally, I request the annu­al amount paid per year since 1833 – 35.

I also request to total sum paid to repay the loan, includ­ing interest.

Yours faith­fully,
Alex Taylor

1. From the doc­u­ment­a­tion avail­able, it’s unclear wheth­er the loan began in 1833 or 1835.

2. This was covered by a num­ber of news organ­isa­tions. Two examples from the Guard­i­an fol­low:
 — https://​www​.the​guard​i​an​.com/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​i​sfre...
 — https://​www​.the​guard​i​an​.com/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​i​sfre...

3. https://​www​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​atio...

Hav­ing left their writ­ten response to the last day of the 20 work­ing days usu­ally allot­ted, HM Treas­ury replied with a some­what muddled mes­sage offer­ing some details, but not fully answer­ing my request. Some equi­val­ent to HM Treas­ury does not hold information/records” was used four times in a one-page response:

HM Treas­ury does not hold inform­a­tion with­in the scope of your request.”

HM Treas­ury does not hold records dat­ing from this peri­od.”

HM Treas­ury does not hold any detailed inform­a­tion on the struc­ture or amounts of repay­ments...”

HM Treas­ury does not hold inform­a­tion on the total interest paid...”

The let­ter from HM Treas­ury is avail­able via What­DoThey­Know here.

I will be con­tinu­ing this research and share any fur­ther inform­a­tion I’m able to obtain.

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