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