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. Note that the income tax figures in this chapter cover all income tax, whilst those in Chapter 4 cover only non-savings and non-dividend income tax.
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 2021-22
Table 1.1 reports estimated public sector revenue in Scotland and the preliminary outturn data for the UK in 2021-22. 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. The three largest taxes, income tax, national insurance contributions, and value added tax account for around two thirds of total non-North Sea revenue.
Overall, Scotland raised £73.8 billion in 2021-22, or 8.0% of total UK income. This represents an increase from a share of 7.9% in 2020-21, reflecting the growth in North Sea revenue, which grew by £2.7 billion to reach £3.5 billion in 2021-22, its highest level since 2013-14.
Excluding the North Sea revenue, Scotland's revenue increased to £70.3 billion, an increase of 13.6% as revenues began to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Scotland saw weaker growth in non-North Sea revenue than the UK, primarily due to weaker growth in income tax receipts and non-domestic rates income. For income tax, this reflects the latest 2021-22 Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax data from HMRC's Real Time Information system, where Scottish receipts grew by 11.6% in 2021-22 compared to growth of 14.5% for the UK as a whole. For non-domestic rates income, this will at least in part reflect the different timing and coverage of reliefs available in Scotland compared to other parts of the UK.
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||12,243||20.1%||160,085||7.6%|
|Value added tax||11,796||19.4%||142,494||8.3%|
|Corporation tax (excluding North Sea)||3,898||6.4%||62,554||6.2%|
|Capital gains tax||683||1.1%||14,911||4.6%|
|Reserved stamp duties||354||0.6%||20,767||1.7%|
|Scottish land & buildings transaction tax||827||1.4%||827||100.0%|
|Scottish landfill tax||125||0.2%||125||100.0%|
|Air passenger duty||96||0.2%||1,189||8.1%|
|Insurance premium tax||474||0.8%||6,807||7.0%|
|Vehicle excise duties||557||0.9%||7,116||7.8%|
|Total Non-North Sea taxes||60,855||100%||824,041||7.4%|
|North Sea taxes2|
|Interest and dividends||2,044||23,844||8.6%|
|Gross operating surplus||6,983||62,140||11.2%|
|Excluding North Sea||70,311||913,339||7.7%|
|Including population share of the North Sea||70,573||916,553||7.7%|
|Including illustrative geographical share of the North Sea||73,776||916,553||8.0%|
|of which: revenue accounting adjustments||7,454||77,108||9.7%|
1 A description of the other taxes line is provided in the detailed methodology paper on the GERS website.
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.
Scotland's share of UK total non-North Sea revenue in 2021-22 was 7.7% which is 0.5 percentage points lower than Scotland's share of the UK population, and the lowest share on record. Scotland's share of revenue has been declining over time in line with its declining population share.
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 (4.6%), 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 (6.5%) 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.
Revenues where Scotland has a relatively large share include gross operating surplus (GOS), which includes the surpluses of public corporations. Scotland is estimated to generate approximately 11.2% 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 2017-18, at around 7.8%, but has declined slightly, in line with its share of the UK population.
|per cent of UK revenue|
|Corporation tax (excl North Sea)||6.2%||6.2%||6.2%||6.2%||6.2%|
|National insurance contributions||7.9%||7.7%||7.7%||7.6%||7.6%|
|Value added tax||8.4%||8.4%||8.2%||8.3%||8.3%|
|Council tax and non-domestic rates||8.0%||7.9%||7.7%||7.7%||7.4%|
|All other revenue||8.9%||9.0%||9.1%||9.0%||8.9%|
|Total current non-North Sea revenue||7.8%||7.8%||7.9%||7.8%||7.7%|
Estimated Revenue: Scotland and the UK, 2017-18 to 2021-22
Table 1.4 shows estimated revenue in Scotland and the UK between 2017-18 and 2021-22. Non-North Sea revenue in Scotland is estimated to have grown by 14.9% between 2017-18 and 2021-22 in nominal terms, slower than the UK as a whole (17.1%). The largest single factor explaining this difference is weaker growth in national insurance receipts in Scotland, which reflects weaker growth in earnings and employment, the latter reflecting weaker population growth. The impact of this weaker earnings and employment on Scottish income tax receipts has to a degree been offset through policy changes in Scotland.
Table 1.3 shows estimates of revenue per person for Scotland and the UK between 2017-18 and 2021-22. Excluding North Sea revenue, revenue per person in Scotland is lower than in the UK by £805 in 2021-22. Including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue the difference is £221, the smallest difference since 2014-15.
|£ per person|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||11,270||11,710||11,937||11,317||12,831|
|Including North Sea revenue (population share)||11,289||11,728||11,947||11,325||12,879|
|Including North Sea revenue (geographical share)||11,480||11,960||12,090||11,457||13,463|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||11,794||12,219||12,393||11,844||13,636|
|Including North Sea revenue||11,813||12,237||12,402||11,852||13,684|
|Difference (Scotland minus UK)|
|Excluding North Sea revenue||-524||-509||-456||-527||-805|
|Including North Sea revenue (population share)||-524||-509||-456||-527||-805|
|Including North Sea revenue (geographical share)||-333||-277||-313||-395||-221|
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 2020-21 were published on 27 May 2022.
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 higher 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||10,362||10,643||11,211||11,016||12,243||131,627||137,534||144,713||144,033||160,085|
|Value added tax||10,610||11,177||11,076||9,712||11,796||126,374||133,589||134,845||117,473||142,494|
|Corporation tax (excluding North Sea)||3,335||3,428||3,154||3,423||3,898||53,972||55,025||50,596||54,916||62,554|
|Capital gains tax||310||449||450||510||683||7,793||9,197||9,826||11,130||14,911|
|UK stamp duties||296||293||296||298||354||17,212||16,699||16,972||14,637||20,767|
|Scottish land & buildings transaction tax||557||554||597||517||827||557||554||597||517||827|
|Scottish landfill tax||148||149||119||107||125||148||149||119||107||125|
|Air passenger duty||274||290||273||26||96||3,360||3,632||3,655||329||1,189|
|Insurance premium tax||387||421||453||438||474||5,898||6,306||6,480||6,306||6,807|
|Vehicle excise duties||498||520||548||545||557||6,378||6,667||7,000||6,964||7,116|
|Total Non-North Sea taxes||52,725||55,292||56,166||52,976||60,855||697,163||731,935||743,759||708,722||824,041|
|North Sea taxes|
|Population share of North Sea revenue||106||98||53||43||262||1,297||1,196||643||522||3,214|
|Illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue||1,141||1,361||833||765||3,464||1,297||1,196||643||522||3,214|
|Interest and dividends||1,760||1,817||1,911||1,984||2,044||21,131||22,116||23,626||23,601||23,844|
|Gross operating surplus||6,261||6,203||6,708||6,523||6,983||58,357||55,235||57,745||58,645||62,140|
|Total revenue (excl North Sea revenue)||61,174||63,754||65,225||61,900||70,311||780,016||812,855||828,679||794,210||913,339|
|Total revenue (incl pop share North Sea revenue)||61,280||63,852||65,277||61,942||70,573||781,313||814,051||829,322||794,732||916,553|
|Total revenue (incl geog share North Sea revenue)||62,315||65,114||66,057||62,665||73,776||781,313||814,051||829,322||794,732||916,553|
|Of which, revenue accounting adjustment||6,442||6,690||6,947||7,102||7,454||65,540||68,322||70,611||73,253||77,108|
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