Chapter 3: Public Sector Expenditure
Total Public Sector Expenditure: Scotland 2014-15
This chapter provides detailed estimates of public sector expenditure for Scotland.
The primary data source used to estimate Scottish public sector expenditure is the November 2015 Country and Regional Analysis (CRA) published by HM Treasury. In addition to this, data provided directly by HM Treasury is used to estimate a Scottish accounting adjustment. This adjustment is required to ensure the estimates of total public spending in GERS measure Total Managed Expenditure, the headline measure of aggregate public spending in the UK Public Sector Finances (see Annex A). For total expenditure and each expenditure component, a detailed breakdown according to current and capital is provided.
Public Sector Expenditure
Total public sector expenditure for Scotland in 2014-15 is estimated to be £68.4 billion. This is shown by spending category in Table 3.1. This was equivalent to 9.3% of comparable total UK public sector expenditure, shown in Table 3.2. Social protection, which includes spending on social security benefits, was the largest Scottish expenditure programme. It is discussed in more detail in Box 3.1.
Table 3.1: Total Expenditure: Scotland 2014-15
|£ million||% of total expenditure|
|General public services|
|Public and common services||1,431||2.1%|
|Public sector debt interest||2,760||4.0%|
|Public order and safety||2,803||4.1%|
|Enterprise and economic development||982||1.4%|
|Science and technology||477||0.7%|
|Agriculture, forestry and fisheries||897||1.3%|
|Housing and community amenities||1,804||2.6%|
|Recreation, culture and religion||1,622||2.4%|
|Education and training||7,691||11.2%|
Total public sector expenditure for Scotland is estimated to have increased from £65.7 billion in 2010-11 to £68.4 billion in 2014-15, an increase of 4.1% in nominal terms. UK public expenditure grew at the same rate over the period.
Table 3.2: Total Current and Capital Expenditure: Scotland and UK
Table 3.3 shows the share of total expenditure between current and capital for Scotland. The capital spending share is generally around 11%, except in 2012-13 when there was a one-off increase in capital spend associated with the transfer of the Royal Mail Pension Plan.
Table 3.3: Current and Capital Expenditure (% of Total Expenditure): Scotland
The table below shows estimates of Scottish and UK public sector expenditure as a share of GDP. This provides an illustration of the relative size of public spending between countries and over time. It is not an estimate of the contribution of public spending to the economy as much of this spending consists of transfers from government to individuals and businesses.
Table 3.4: Total Managed Expenditure as a Share of GDP
|(per cent of GDP)|
|Scottish TME as a Share of GDP:|
|Excluding North Sea GDP||53.1%||51.6%||52.0%||49.9%||48.6%|
|Including population share of North Sea GDP||52.1%||50.7%||51.2%||49.2%||48.1%|
|Including geographical share of North Sea GDP||44.7%||43.6%||45.3%||44.0%||44.6%|
|UK TME as a share of GDP:|
|100% of North Sea GDP||45.0%||43.4%||43.0%||41.4%||40.3%|
Table 3.5 shows estimated total public sector expenditure for Scotland and the UK per person. Since 2010-11, spending per head in Scotland has been between 10.6% and 12.4% higher than the UK average. Slightly less than one percentage point of this difference is due to water and sewerage services being provided by the public sector in Scotland, and therefore included in Scottish expenditure, whilst in England and Wales they are operated by the private sector and therefore excluded from UK expenditure. Tables 3.6 and 3.7 show current, capital, and total expenditure for Scotland and the UK respectively.
Table 3.5: Total Expenditure Per Person (£ per person, rounded to nearest £100)
|Difference (Scotland minus UK)||1,200||1,300||1,400||1,400||1,400|
|Relative Expenditure for Scotland (UK = 100)||110.6||111.6||112.4||112.4||112.3|
Table 3.6: Total Expenditure: Scotland
|General public services|
|Public and common services||1,410||1,289||1,151||1,272||1,254||222||175||142||195||177||1,632||1,465||1,293||1,466||1,431|
|Public sector debt interest||3,372||3,520||3,146||3,071||2,760||0||0||0||0||0||3,372||3,520||3,146||3,071||2,760|
|Public order and safety||2,579||2,666||2,652||2,413||2,683||261||216||204||139||120||2,840||2,883||2,857||2,552||2,803|
|Enterprise and economic development||456||592||697||804||775||276||250||245||196||207||732||842||942||1,000||982|
|Science and technology||0||0||0||0||0||334||367||354||415||477||334||367||354||415||477|
|Agriculture, forestry and fisheries||795||826||770||795||747||152||146||152||168||150||947||972||922||962||897|
|Housing and community amenities||292||215||73||120||191||1,456||1,510||1,548||1,530||1,613||1,748||1,725||1,621||1,649||1,804|
|Recreation, culture and religion||1,192||1,177||1,290||1,203||1,433||277||339||332||243||189||1,469||1,516||1,622||1,446||1,622|
|Education and training||7,055||6,769||6,991||6,928||7,080||601||688||656||636||610||7,656||7,457||7,647||7,563||7,691|
Table 3.7: Total Expenditure: UK 2010-11 to 2014-15
|General public services|
|Public and common services||10,959||10,127||9,752||9,607||10,399||1,658||1,123||1,276||1,389||1,332||12,617||11,250||11,028||10,996||11,731|
|Public sector debt interest||40,227||42,065||37,746||36,999||33,328||0||0||0||0||0||40,227||42,065||37,746||36,999||33,328|
|Public order and safety||31,015||30,503||29,846||28,284||28,673||2,028||1,556||1,406||1,257||1,235||33,042||32,058||31,252||29,541||29,909|
|Enterprise and economic development||2,831||3,280||3,951||4,376||3,907||2,035||1,596||942||1,153||857||4,866||4,876||4,893||5,529||4,764|
|Science and technology||0||0||0||0||0||3,406||3,563||3,597||4,438||4,940||3,406||3,563||3,597||4,438||4,940|
|Agriculture, forestry and fisheries||5,173||5,544||5,010||5,000||4,697||329||269||306||408||474||5,502||5,813||5,316||5,407||5,171|
|Housing and community amenities||3,220||2,722||3,086||2,984||3,053||10,031||7,431||6,877||6,823||7,622||13,251||10,153||9,963||9,807||10,675|
|Recreation, culture and religion||10,256||9,660||10,691||9,648||10,162||2,719||2,819||2,006||1,770||1,830||12,974||12,479||12,698||11,418||11,992|
|Education and training||82,371||79,089||80,554||82,245||78,154||9,150||7,798||6,642||7,254||6,251||91,521||86,887||87,196||89,499||84,405|
Box 3.1 Social protection spending in Scotland
Social protection spending is the largest single spending line in GERS, and covers a range of different spend types.
The largest spending element within social protection is expenditure on the state pension. This is followed by other social security benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), such as jobseekers allowance and disability related benefits. Note that the measure of benefit spending in the table below does not include spending associated with the Scottish Welfare Fund, Council Tax Reduction Scheme, or elements of tax credits which are currently classed as accounting adjustments rather than social protection expenditure. If these were to be included, total benefit expenditure in Scotland in 2014-15 would be around £18.2 billion.
Some UK benefit expenditure, mostly associated with the state pension, is paid to non-UK residents. Scotland is allocated a population share of this expenditure in GERS.
Social protection spending for Scotland (£ million)
|Benefit spending in Scotland|
|Other DWP benefits||5,786||5,749||5,795||5,621||5,659|
|HMRC child benefit and tax credits||2,744||2,825||2,926||2,831||2,766|
|Benefit spending in Scotland||16,166||16,630||17,302||17,273||17,526|
|Share of benefit spending outside UK and corporate spend||490||479||518||458||545|
|Other social protection|
|Public sector pensions||452||732||866||881||961|
|Social care for the elderly||2,067||2,096||2,249||2,263||2,283|
|Total social protection||20,612||21,309||22,258||22,140||22,840|
Other spending consists primarily of Local Authority expenditure on social care to families and children.
A more detailed breakdown of social security spending is available in the detailed spending database available from the GERS website. In addition, DWP publish a high-level breakdown of their benefit spend, available at the link below. When comparing with the figures above, note that housing benefit is identified separately, as in GERS, and the CRA database, it is recorded as Local Government expenditure rather than DWP expenditure. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-expenditure-tables
Table 3.8 below provides a breakdown of Scottish expenditure by the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and Public Corporations and Other UK Government departments. The database used to produce the table is available on the GERS website.
Table 3.8: Total Expenditure: Scotland 2010-11 to 2014-15
|Scottish Government, LAs and Public Corporations||Other UK Government||Total|
|General public services|
|Public and common services||1,149||990||856||1,018||952||483||474||437||449||479||1,632||1,465||1,293||1,466||1,431|
|Public sector debt interest||0||0||0||0||0||3,372||3,520||3,146||3,071||2,760||3,372||3,520||3,146||3,071||2,760|
|Public order and safety||2,579||2,601||2,597||2,307||2,568||262||282||260||245||235||2,840||2,883||2,857||2,552||2,803|
|Enterprise and econ development||758||773||744||784||806||-25||69||197||217||175||732||842||942||1,000||982|
|Science and technology||6||5||4||3||3||328||362||350||412||474||334||367||354||415||477|
|Agriculture, forestry and fisheries||924||961||912||948||878||23||11||11||15||18||947||972||922||962||897|
|Housing and community amenities||1,748||1,725||1,621||1,649||1,804||0||0||0||0||0||1,748||1,725||1,621||1,649||1,804|
|Recreation, culture and religion||1,023||1,088||1,119||1,066||1,140||447||428||504||380||482||1,469||1,516||1,622||1,446||1,622|
|Education and training||7,630||7,434||7,628||7,549||7,663||26||23||19||14||28||7,656||7,457||7,647||7,563||7,691|
Note: Negative expenditure for Scotland by other UK Government departments associated with Enterprise and Economic Development represents Scotland's population share of the unwinding of the UK Government's financial sector interventions following the global financial crisis.
Recent classification decisions
On 30 October 2015, the ONS announced that private providers of registered social housing in England, which includes many housing associations, have been reclassified from the private sector to the public sector. The ONS implemented this change in the Public Sector Finances on 19 February 2016. As GERS is consistent with the January 2016 Public Sector Finances, the UK figures do not include the effect of the reclassification.
The ONS has also made a number of other classifications that directly affect Scottish public expenditure. The most significant of these affect infrastructure projects being delivered by the Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) programme. Normally, the only expenditure associated with such schemes reported in GERS are the unitary charge payments made by the Scottish Government once the project is completed. However, in July 2015, the ONS decided that the Special Purchase Vehicle set up to deliver the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is a public rather than private body. As such, all its expenditure will fall within the public sector expenditure covered by GERS at the time the spending occurs. The bodies set up to deliver the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary may be treated in the same way. These decisions have not yet been incorporated into the UK Public Sector Finances, as a final decision has not been taken on whether these bodies will be classified to central government or public corporations. The changes have therefore not been incorporated into the main estimates of spending in this edition of GERS. The projects only begin incurring expenditure in 2014‑15, with spending in previous years unaffected. When implemented, the decision will increase Scottish and UK spending in 2014-15 by £109 million.
Box 3.2: Comparisons of Scottish expenditure to other areas of the UK (Experimental Statistics)
The chart below provides experimental estimates of public sector expenditure for each of the UK countries and regions. Full details of the methodology can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GERS/RelatedAreas
We welcome user feedback about this analysis, including comments on the methods used. As normal, please feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Overall, Scotland is estimated to have the second highest level of spending per person of the UK countries and regions. The charts below show spending per person separately first for capital and then current spend relative to the UK average.
In most countries and regions, capital spending accounts for approximately 10% of total expenditure. There is a large variation in capital spending per person, with London receiving the highest. As shown in the chart, the higher levels of capital spending in London are due, in part, to capital expenditure on public transport, which includes spending on railways, the London Underground, and buses. Spending in Scotland and Northern Ireland is also higher than other parts of the UK due in part to the fact that their water and sewerage services are provided by the public sector, rather than private companies. The fact that these services remain in the public sector in these countries also increases their public sector revenue. Scotland is estimated to have the second highest level of capital expenditure per person of the UK countries and regions, even when spending on Scottish Water is excluded.
The ONS is currently consulting on the production of Public Sector Finance statistics for the Country and Regions of the UK. The consultation is available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/whatwedo/statistics/consultationsandsurveys/allconsultationsandsurveys/consultationoncountryandregionalpublicsectorfinances
Capital spend per person, 2014-15
The chart below shows current expenditure per person. This accounts for around 90% of total expenditure. Scotland is estimated to have the second highest level of current expenditure per person of the UK countries and regions
Current spend per person, 2014-15
Email: Mairi Spowage
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