Local Government Revenue Provisional Outturns and Budget Estimates

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Local Government Revenue Expenditure and Financing Statistics. The publication provides net revenue expenditure provisional outturn for 2018-19 and budget estimates for 2019-20 on all the main services carried out by Scotland’s local authorities.

2018-19 Provisional Outturn

  • Local authority net revenue expenditure is expected to total £12.3 billion in 2018-19 for Scotland – an increase of £0.292 billion (+2.4%) on 2017-18.
  • The largest components of local authority net revenue expenditure are education and social work, making up 42% and 27% respectively.
  • 58% of net revenue expenditure was financed by Scottish Government grants, 21% from non-domestic rates, 19% from council tax and 1% from reserves.
  • Local authorities expect to use £0.157 billion of money held in reserves to pay for services in 2018-19. They will transfer in £0.047 billion of reserves from other accounts which means that general fund reserves are expected to have fallen by 9.7% to £1.026 billion as at 31 March 2019.

2019-20 Budget Estimates

  • Local authorities have set a total net revenue budget of £12.635 billion in 2019-20 – an increase of £0.497 billion (+4.1%) on the 2018-19 budget.
  • The largest components of local authority budgeted net revenue expenditure are education and social work, making up 44% and 27% respectively.
  • 57% of net revenue expenditure will be financed from Scottish Government grants, 23% from non-domestic rates, 19% from council tax and 1% from reserves.
  • Local authorities plan to use £0.114 billion of the money held in reserves and to transfer £0.043 billion in from other accounts in 2019-20. General Fund reserves are budgeted to fall by 6.9% to £0.955 billion by 31 March 2020.


These statistics were collected via the Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimates (POBE) return with the help of the 32 local authorities. The continued co-operation of these bodies in completing these returns is gratefully acknowledged.

Provisional outturn figures for 2018-19 were provided on an unaudited basis before local authorities’ accounts were compiled and so these figures are subject to revision in the final audited accounts. Budget estimates are local authorities’ budgeted costs for services for 2019-20. When looking at trends over time, comparisons should always be made on a like for like basis and small changes should be interpreted with caution.

All figures relate to net revenue expenditure which is the gross revenue expenditure less any specific income for individual services. It can therefore be considered as the expenditure to be financed from Scottish Government grants, non-domestic rates (NDR) income, council tax income and local authority reserves.

Net revenue expenditure figures for social work will be affected by the integration of health and social care. These figures represent the amount of expenditure on social work services commissioned by the local authority outwith integration plus the amount the local authority has contributed to their Integrated Joint Board for the Integration of Health and Social Care.

The full statistical publication and associated excel files are available at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Local-Government-Finance/POBEStats

This publication covers revenue expenditure only. The Capital Expenditure and Financing publication is available at www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Local-Government-Finance/Publications/CPOBE

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About


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