Local government 2019-2020 provisional outturn and 2020-2021 budget estimates – capital expenditure

This publication summarises the 2019 to 2020 provisional outturn and 2020 to 2021 budget estimates for local authority capital expenditure.


This publication summarises the 2019-20 provisional outturn and 2020-21 budget estimates for local authority capital expenditure and financing.

All the figures reported in this publication have been collected via the Capital Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimates (CPOBE) 2020 return with the help of all local authorities in Scotland. The continued co-operation of these bodies in completing these returns is gratefully acknowledged.

The CPOBE return is sent to all local authorities annually in March. Local authorities are required to provide detailed breakdowns of their capital expenditure and financing, as well as information on prudential indicators relating to total external debt and Capital Financing Requirement (CFR). The return collects both provisional outturn figures for the financial year just ending and budget estimates for the next three financial years.

Local government expenditure is split between revenue and capital expenditure. This publication covers capital expenditure only. Capital expenditure is mainly for purchasing, constructing or enhancing physical assets, for example building a school. Capital expenditure also includes expenditure that the Scottish Ministers have permitted local authorities to treat as capital expenditure as it is met from capital resources, such as third party capital grants.

Unlike revenue expenditure, capital projects create an asset that authorities use to provide services over a period of more than one year. It is therefore reasonable to spread the cost of creating that asset over the life of that asset. Local authorities do this by borrowing, which includes both the borrowing of money and the use of credit arrangements, such as Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Debt costs – both the repayment of the borrowing and the interest cost of the debt – are met from a local authority’s annual revenue budget.

This publication focuses on Scotland-level figures only. All figures in this publication are given in £ millions and so may not sum to exact totals due to rounding. A workbook containing the source data from each local authorities’ return is available at www.gov.scot/collections/local-government-finance-statistics/#capitalprovisionaloutturnandbudgetestimates(cpobe).

Due to the timing of the return, the vast majority of local authorities’ returns did not take account of the potential impacts of Covid-19 on capital expenditure. See the ‘Data Interpretation’ section for more information.

Experimental Statistics: Data being developed

These statistics are currently being developed and have been published to involve users and stakeholders in their development, as well as to build in quality and understanding at an early stage. This publication has not yet been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority and is under review. These statistics are therefore published as experimental statistics, rather than as official statistics.


Email: lgfstats@gov.scot

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