Chapter 1: Public Sector Revenue
This chapter provides detailed estimates of Scottish public sector revenue.
The majority of public sector revenue payable by Scottish residents and enterprises is collected at the UK level. Generally it is not possible to identify separately the proportion of revenue receivable from Scotland. GERS therefore uses a number of different methodologies to apportion revenue to Scotland. These are discussed in the methodology paper on the GERS website.
Following the implementation of the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016, an increasing amount of revenue is being devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and direct Scottish measures of these revenues are becoming available. To date, landfill tax, property transaction taxes, and non-savings non-dividend income tax have been devolved. Chapter 4 provides more information on current and future devolved taxes.
2019-20 is the third year of the operation of the new, more extensive Scottish Income Tax powers, where the Scottish Government has the power to set the rates and bands for income tax for Scottish residents. These figures are shown in Chapter 4, and show the amount of non-savings non-dividend (NSND) income tax paid on earnings in a given year. The income tax figures in this chapter cover all income tax, and are presented on a slightly different basis consistent with the UK Public Sector Finances, but are consistent with the HMRC figures.
For taxes where there is no direct measure of Scottish revenue, GERS uses a set of data sources and methodologies developed over a number of years following consultation with, and feedback from, users. In some cases, a variety of methodologies could be applied, each leading to different estimates of public sector revenue in Scotland. Table A.5 in Annex A provides analysis of the confidence intervals around revenue estimates based on survey data.
GERS reports tax and non-tax revenue separately. Non-tax revenues are primarily non-cash items such as capital consumption, included for accounting purposes in gross operating surplus, and the operating surplus of public corporations such as Scottish Water. These are discussed in more detail below.
Estimated Revenue 2019-20
Table 1.1 reports estimated public sector revenue in Scotland and the preliminary outturn data for the UK in 2019-20. The contribution of each element of revenue to the Scottish total, and the proportion of UK revenue raised in Scotland, are also included in the table. Income tax, national insurance contributions, and value added tax account for around two thirds of total non-North Sea revenue. In order to report revenue on a National Accounts basis, an international reporting standard used by governments, a number of accounting adjustments are included in the total revenue estimate. These are primarily symmetric adjustments that also form part of expenditure, and therefore have little impact on the net fiscal balance.
|Scotland||UK||Scotland as % of UK|
|£ million||% of total non-North Sea taxes||£ million|
|National insurance contributions||11,460||20.4%||144,245||7.9%|
|Value added tax||11,015||19.6%||133,819||8.2%|
|Corporation tax (excluding North Sea)||3,180||5.7%||50,992||6.2%|
|Capital gains tax||433||0.8%||9,978||4.3%|
|Reserved stamp duties||284||0.5%||16,871||1.7%|
|Scottish land & buildings transaction tax||598||1.1%||598||100.0%|
|Scottish landfill tax||119||0.2%||119||100.0%|
|Air passenger duty||273||0.5%||3,385||8.1%|
|Insurance premium tax||419||0.7%||6,393||6.6%|
|Vehicle excise duties||572||1.0%||7,000||8.2%|
|Total Non-North Sea taxes||56,185||100%||741,055||7.6%|
|North Sea taxes2|
|Interest and dividends||2,155||26,109||8.3%|
|Gross operating surplus||6,294||53,835||11.7%|
|Excluding North Sea||65,155||825,396||7.9%|
|Including population share of the North Sea||65,208||826,046||7.9%|
|Including illustrative geographical share of the North Sea||65,878||826,046||8.0%|
|of which: revenue accounting adjustments||6,545||66,835||9.8%|
1 A description of the other taxes line is provided in the detailed methodology paper on the GERS website.
2 As the receipts for UK Petroleum Revenue Tax are negative, the Scottish share of North Sea revenue appears unusually high in 2019-20. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 2.
Unlike the expenditure accounting adjustments, which are shown in a separate expenditure line, the revenue accounting adjustments are included within different revenue lines, as is set out in Table A.9 in Annex A. In order to aid transparency, a revenue accounting adjustments line is shown at the bottom of Table 1.1 and 1.4. This is a sub-total of revenue, and is not additional to the revenue totals reported in these tables.
Total public sector non-North Sea revenue in Scotland was estimated to be £65.2 billion in 2019-20, an increase of 1.7%. This is equivalent to 7.9% of UK total non-North Sea current revenue which is 0.3 percentage points lower than Scotland’s share of the UK population. In general, Scotland’s share of most large revenues is close to either its population or GDP share. However, there are some exceptions to this, discussed below.
Revenues where Scotland’s share of UK revenue is relatively low are those associated with property or assets, such as capital gains tax (4.3%), and inheritance tax (4.6%). This reflects the fact that properties and assets in Scotland tend to have lower values than the UK average. Scotland’s share of income tax (6.7%) is also relatively low. In part, this reflects the shifting of income tax onto higher earners, through the introduction of the additional rate of income tax and increases in the personal allowance. Scotland has relatively fewer additional rate tax payers, with only around 4% of the UK total. Scotland also has a relatively low share of interest and dividend revenue. This reflects the fact that the Scottish Government receives proportionally less income from student loans, as the use of such loans is lower in Scotland.
Revenues where Scotland has a relatively large share include non-domestic rates (8.6%), and gross operating surplus (GOS), which includes the surpluses of public corporations. Scotland is estimated to generate approximately 11.7% of UK public sector GOS, higher than Scotland’s population share. Scotland’s GOS includes Scottish Water, which is a large contributor to UK public corporations’ GOS. The equivalent water companies in England and Wales are outside the public sector and hence do not contribute to UK GOS.
Scotland tends to also have relatively high shares of duties associated with tobacco and alcohol. This reflects the greater incidence of smoking in Scotland, and also the fact that Scotland has higher consumption of spirits than the rest of the UK. Scotland also has a relatively high share of ‘other receipts’, as for the UK this line nets out refunds of non‑domestic rates paid by local authorities. Due to the different structure of reporting non‑domestic rates in Scotland, these refunds are not separated out for Scotland.
Table 1.2 below provides a time series of Scotland’s share of the largest UK revenues. In general, Scotland’s share of UK revenue has been broadly stable since 2015-16, at around 7.9%.
|per cent of UK revenue|
|Corporation tax (excl North Sea)||6.3%||6.6%||6.2%||6.2%||6.2%|
|National insurance contributions||7.9%||8.0%||8.0%||8.0%||7.9%|
|Value added tax||8.2%||7.9%||8.4%||8.4%||8.2%|
|Council tax and non-domestic rates||8.0%||8.0%||8.0%||7.9%||7.6%|
|All other revenue||8.9%||8.9%||9.0%||9.1%||9.1%|
|Total current non-North Sea revenue||7.9%||7.8%||7.9%||7.9%||7.9%|
Estimated Revenue: Scotland and the UK, 2015-16 to 2019-20
Table 1.4 shows estimated current revenue in Scotland and the UK between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Non-North Sea revenue in Scotland is estimated to have grown by 15.3% between 2015-16 and 2019-20 in nominal terms, less than for the UK as a whole (15.9%). The majority of this difference is due to relatively slower growth in income tax in Scotland, which occurred in 2015-16 and 2016-17. However, based on HMRC’s indicative PAYE income tax liabilities, income tax in Scotland is estimated to have grown more quickly than the UK as a whole in 2018-19. More generally, slower growth in revenue in Scotland reflects the fact that Scotland’s population, and therefore its tax base, has grown more slowly than in the UK as a whole.
The structure of revenue in Scotland is changing with the devolution of additional tax powers. Table 1.4 shows separately land and buildings transaction tax and Scottish landfill tax, which were introduced in 2015‑16. The ‘UK stamp duties’ line for Scotland shows estimated receipts from stamp duty on shares and the annual tax on enveloped dwellings.
Table 1.3 shows estimates of revenue per person for Scotland and the UK between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Excluding North Sea revenue, revenue per person in Scotland is lower than in the UK by £431 in 2019-20. Including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue the difference is £308.
|£ per person|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||10,506||10,975||11,317||11,769||11,926|
|Including North Sea revenue (population share)||10,504||10,976||11,337||11,787||11,936|
|Including North Sea revenue (geographical share)||10,447||11,004||11,527||12,020||12,058|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||10,919||11,508||11,752||12,174||12,357|
|Including North Sea revenue||10,918||11,508||11,772||12,192||12,367|
|Difference (Scotland minus UK)|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||-413||-533||-435||-404||-431|
|Including North Sea revenue (population share)||-413||-533||-435||-404||-431|
|Including North Sea revenue (geographical share)||-471||-504||-244||-171||-308|
Box 1.1: Comparison between GERS and ONS estimates
Any analysis of public sector receipts in Scotland relies on estimation, and as such alternative estimates are possible. As discussed in the Preface, GERS estimates revenue using a set of apportionment methodologies, refined over a number of years following consultation with, and feedback from, users.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) now publishes public sector finances for the countries and regions of the UK. The latest estimates covering the period to 2018-19 were published on 20 December 2019.
The table below compares the estimates in GERS with those published by ONS. There are some differences between the ONS and GERS numbers. For non-North Sea taxes, these primarily relate to VAT. The estimates of VAT in GERS are consistent with those published by HMRC for Scottish Assigned VAT, whilst the ONS use a methodology which produces results for all UK country and regions, which has a lower estimate for Scotland. The ONS, HMRC and the devolved administrations are working together to reconcile, and where possible align, methodologies for estimating tax receipts for the UK countries and regions
The differences in other non‑North Sea receipts are primarily due to using different data sources for interest and dividends, where GERS uses specific data for interest income from Scottish student loans.
|Non-North Sea taxes|
|Other non-North Sea receipts|
|Geographical share of North Sea revenues|
|National insurance contributions||9,066||10,042||10,460||10,913||11,460||114,061||126,241||131,547||137,257||144,245|
|Value added tax||9,616||9,645||10,536||11,134||11,015||116,703||121,855||125,494||133,201||133,819|
|Corporation tax (excluding North Sea)||2,765||3,485||3,315||3,485||3,180||44,100||52,659||53,140||55,911||50,992|
|Capital gains tax||373||363||338||399||433||7,060||8,380||7,793||9,197||9,978|
|UK stamp duties||280||336||297||293||284||14,181||15,657||17,212||16,699||16,871|
|Scottish land & buildings transaction tax||425||484||557||554||598||425||484||557||554||598|
|Scottish landfill tax||147||149||148||149||119||147||149||148||149||119|
|Air passenger duty||246||256||274||290||273||3,040||3,236||3,360||3,636||3,385|
|Insurance premium tax||251||313||388||413||419||3,717||4,872||5,898||6,309||6,393|
|Vehicle excise duties||466||475||503||544||572||5,922||5,997||6,378||6,716||7,000|
|Total Non-North Sea taxes||48,374||50,889||52,856||55,464||56,185||630,712||672,813||694,161||729,348||741,055|
|North Sea taxes|
|Population share of North Sea revenue||-7||3||106||98||53||-85||36||1,297||1,195||650|
|Illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue||-318||157||1,141||1,366||724||-85||36||1,297||1,195||650|
|Interest and dividends||1,790||1,849||1,914||2,017||2,155||21,055||21,607||22,933||24,162||26,109|
|Gross operating surplus||5,892||6,169||6,217||6,153||6,294||56,724||58,355||56,598||52,782||53,835|
|Total revenue (excl North Sea revenue)||56,530||59,372||61,432||64,076||65,155||712,413||756,587||777,267||809,859||825,396|
|Total revenue (incl pop share North Sea revenue)||56,523||59,375||61,538||64,174||65,208||712,328||756,623||778,564||811,054||826,046|
|Total revenue (incl geog share North Sea revenue)||56,213||59,529||62,573||65,442||65,878||712,328||756,623||778,564||811,054||826,046|
|Of which, revenue accounting adjustment||5,802||6,091||6,227||6,421||6,545||60,070||61,877||63,435||65,553||66,835|