Publication - Statistics

Local government 2019-2020 provisional outturn and 2020-2021 budget estimates – revenue

Published: 24 Jun 2020

Summary of the 2019 to 2020 provisional outturn and 2020 to 2021 budget estimates for services provided by Scottish councils.

Local government 2019-2020 provisional outturn and 2020-2021 budget estimates – revenue
2020-21 Budget Estimates

2020-21 Budget Estimates

Councils were also asked to provide their budget estimates for 2020-21. Budgets are financial plans for the year and will reflect both anticipated demand for services and the resources available to deliver those services. As such, comparisons between years need to take these factors into account and should be interpreted with caution.

Budgeted net revenue expenditure for councils in Scotland is £13,327 million, an increase of 5.5 per cent, or £693 million, from the budget set for 2019-20. Table 3 shows the full breakdown of budget estimates by service, and Figure 2 shows the change in budget estimates between 2019-20 and 2020-21 by service.

Table 3: Budget Estimates for 2019-20 and 2020-21 by Service, £ millions
Service 2019-20 2020-21 % change from 2019-20 to 2020-21
Education 5,557 6,070 9.2%
Social Work 3,414 3,572 4.6%
Roads & Transport 377 377 0.2%
Environmental Services 699 691 -1.1%
Planning & Development 221 211 -4.5%
Culture & Related Services 554 556 0.3%
Other service expenditure 1 687 685 -0.2%
Non-service expenditure 2 1,126 1,164 3.4%
Total Net Revenue Expenditure 12,635 13,327 5.5%


1 This includes non-HRA Housing, Central Services and General Fund Contributions to trading services.
2 This includes revenue resources used for capital expenditure, debt repayment, interest charges (net of investment income) and surplus on trading operations.

Education is the service with the highest budgeted net revenue expenditure, with councils budgeting £6,070 million for Education services in 2020-21. This is an increase of 9.2 per cent (£513 million) from the 2019-20 budget estimate.

Social Work continues to be the service with the second highest net revenue expenditure in 2020-21. Councils have budgeted £3,572 million for Social Work services, an increase of 4.6 per cent (£158 million) from 2019-20 budget estimates.

Budgeted expenditure for all other services in 2020-21 are broadly in line with budget estimates for 2019-20.

Non-service expenditure is budgeted to increase by 3.4 per cent, or £38 million, compared to 2019-20 budget estimates.

Figure 2: Budget Estimates for 2019-20 and 2020-21 by Service
Figure 2: Budget Estimates for 2019-20 and 2020-21 by Service

Table 4 sets out what financing councils have budgeted for in 2020-21. It is important to note that these figures do not include potential impacts of Covid-19 on sources of financing, see the Data Interpretation section for more information.

Almost three-fifths, 58 per cent or £7,785 million, of budgeted financing relates to Scottish Government grants. NDR and Council Tax are budgeted to finance almost all of the remaining net revenue expenditure, accounting for 21 per cent (£2,840 million) and 20 per cent (£2,607 million) respectively. Councils have budgeted for one per cent (£95 million) of net revenue expenditure to be financed from their reserves.

Table 4: Budgeted financing of net revenue expenditure in 2020-21, £ millions 1
Source of financing Financing Budgeted % of total net revenue expenditure funded
Scottish Government Grants 2 -7,785 58%
Non-Domestic Rates 3 -2,840 21%
Council Tax -2,607 20%
Reserves -95 1%
Total Revenue Financing -13,327 100%


1 Figures do not include potential impacts of Covid-19. See Data Interpretation section for more information.
2 This consists of SG General Revenue Grant (GRG) and SG Ring-Fenced Revenue Grants (RFRGs).
3 This consists of the NDR Distributable Amount and income retained under the Business Rates Incentivisation Scheme (BRIS) and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF).

At 1 April 2020, councils estimate General Fund reserves of £1,033 million. In 2020-21, councils have budgeted to use £95 million of these reserves to provide services, and transfers of £46 million from other reserves. This gives a budgeted closing General Fund balance of £983 million at 31 March 2021. This would be a decrease in councils' General Reserves funds of 4.8 per cent in 2020-21.

Of the 32 councils, 14 have budgeted for a decrease in their General Fund balance in 2020-21; three have budgeted to increase their General Fund balance; and the remaining 15 have budgeted for no change in their General Fund balance.