Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics 2020-21

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The Chief Statistician has released figures on local government finance in 2020-21. These figures provide a comprehensive overview of the financial activity of local government, including revenue expenditure and income; capital expenditure and financing; reserves; debt; and pensions. As these figures cover the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, they will also reflect the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on local government finance in 2020-21.

Revenue expenditure is the cost of delivering services each year. Local authorities net revenue expenditure in 2020-21 was £11,108 million. Education and Social Work were the services with highest net revenue expenditure, accounting for £5,520 million and £3,528 million respectively.

Capital expenditure is expenditure that creates the buildings and infrastructure necessary to provide services, such as schools and roads. Local authorities incurred £2,604 million of capital expenditure in 2020-21. This was predominantly financed by grants and contributions of £1,322 million and borrowing of £834 million.

Usable reserves are local authorities’ surplus income from previous years which can be used to finance future revenue or capital expenditure. At 31 March 2021, local authorities held £3,924 million of usable reserves.

When local authorities borrow money or use credit arrangements to finance capital expenditure, a debt is created which has to be repaid from future revenues. In 2020-21, local authorities made debt repayments of £629 million and at 31 March 2021 they had a total debt of £19,723 million.


Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2020-21 is based on final, audited figures provided by local authorities.

Further information on Local Government Finance statistics publications and data collections can be found on the Scottish Government website.

These statistics have been produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.


Media enquiries

Back to top