Contribution to UK under the Barnett Formula: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Over the last 25 years, what has been the gross contribution of Scotland to the UK vs the gross return to Scotland from the UK under the Barnett formula? (by taxation; but also by total resource such as actual revenues from Scottish oil & gas, fisheries, etc, if possible).


In responding to your request, it is helpful to clarify that the Barnett formula is only used to determine the block grant funding for the Scottish Government. It does not determine the overall level of public expenditure in Scotland. For example, spending in Scotland on reserved functions such as pensions is
outside the scope of the Barnett formula. Information on the block grant received by the Scottish Government is set out in Table 1.02 of the Scottish Government's budget, as the Total Budget Limit from HM Treasury, available at the link below.

Information on total public expenditure and revenue for Scotland is set out in Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS). Table 1.4 in the online tables that accompany the latest publication provides a breakdown of revenue from 1998-99 to 2018-19, and Table 3.8 a breakdown of
expenditure. This is available at the following link:

Since 1998-99, Scotland has raised £1,012 billion in revenue, compared to £1,195 billion in expenditure. It should be noted that it is not unusual for advanced economies to have higher levels of public expenditure than revenue. 22 of 36 OECD countries ran a deficit in 2017, including the UK, and the UK has been in deficit for 57 of the past 65 years.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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