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.

2019-20 Provisional Outturn

All local authorities were asked to provide provisional outturn capital expenditure figures on an unaudited basis before their accounts were compiled. As such, these figures are subject to revision in the final audited accounts and small changes over time should be interpreted with caution.

Capital provisional outturn for local authorities in Scotland is £3,798 million, an increase of 32 per cent, or £913 million, from 2018-19 provisional outturn figures. Table 1 shows the full breakdown of provisional outturn figures by service.

Table 1: Provisional Outturn for 2018-19 and 2019-20 by Service, £ millions
Service 2018-19 2019-20 % change from 2018-19 to 2019-20
Education 578 701 21%
Roads & Transport 484 515 6%
Environmental Services 114 264 132%
Planning & Development 338 255 -25%
Culture & Related Services 148 598 306%
Central Services 148 166 12%
Other General Fund services 1 130 120 -7%
General Fund Capital Support to Third Parties 207 238 15%
Housing Revenue Account (HRA) 738 940 27%
Total Expenditure to be met from Capital Resources 2,884 3,798 32%

1 This includes Social Work, Trading Services and non-HRA Housing.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) continues to be the service with highest capital expenditure. In 2019-20, provisional capital expenditure for HRA was £940 million, an increase of 27 per cent (£202 million) from 2018-19.

Education has the second highest capital expenditure, with provisional outturn of £701 million for Education services in 2019-20. This is an increase of 21 per cent (£123 million) from the 2018-19 provisional outturn figure.

Provisional outturn for Culture & Related Services has increased by 306 per cent (£451 million) from 2018-19. This increase can be attributed to Sale and Leaseback transactions[1] in one local authority.

Environmental Services has increased by 132 per cent (£150 million) from 2018-19 provisional outturn figures. This increase has primarily been driven by planned projects within Environmental Services, for example projects relating to energy from waste or coastal protection works, across a number of local authorities.

Provisional outturn for Planning & Development has decreased by 25 per cent (£83 million) from 2018-19. This decrease looks to have been caused by delays in development projects across local authorities.

Provisional outturn figures show that the majority of local authorities’ 2019-20 capital expenditure will be financed from Scottish Government Grants (34 per cent); borrowing (31 per cent); and credit arrangements (18 per cent). Table 2 provides a full breakdown of provisional capital expenditure financing for 2019-20.

Table 2: Financing of capital expenditure in 2019-20, £ millions
Source of financing Amount of financing % of total capital expenditure funded
Scottish Government Grants 1,298 34%
Other Grants 191 5%
Borrowing 1,164 31%
Credit Arrangements 675 18%
Capital Receipts / Capital Fund 149 4%
Other sources of financing 1 321 8%
Total Capital Financing 3,798 100%

1 This includes capital funded from revenue.

Table 3 sets out the provisional outturn figures for local authorities’ Total External Debt and Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) at 31 March. See the Data Interpretation section for more information on these prudential indicators. 

Provisional Total External Debt is £18,735 million – an increase of nine per cent (£1,481 million) from 2018-19. Provisional CFR is £19,420 million, this is an increase of seven per cent (£1,244 million) from 2018-19.

Table 3: Provisional Outturn for CFR and External Debt at 31 March for 2018-19 and 2019-20, £ millions
Prudential Indicator 2018-19 2019-20 % change from 2018-19 to 2019-20
Total External Debt 17,254 18,735 9%
Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) 18,176 19,420 7%

Total External Debt is 96 per cent of the CFR. This means local authorities are under-borrowed and indicates their treasury policy is to utilise cash reserves to fund borrowing at this time. Should their cash requirements increase, a local authority can borrow externally to meet that need, utilising their under-borrowed position.


Email: lgfstats@gov.scot

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