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

Summary of the 2019 to 2020 provisional outturn and 2020 to 2021 budget estimates for services provided by Scottish councils.

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2019-20 Provisional Outturn

All councils in Scotland were asked to provide provisional outturn net revenue expenditure figures for 2019-20 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.

Total provisional outturn for councils in Scotland is £12,942 million, an increase of 5.2 per cent, or £643 million, from 2018-19 provisional outturn figures. Table 1 shows the full breakdown of provisional outturn figures by service and Figure 1 shows the change in provisional outturn between 2018-19 and 2019-20 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 5,225 5,771 10.5%
Social Work 3,334 3,518 5.5%
Roads & Transport 399 377 -5.6%
Environmental Services 708 698 -1.5%
Planning & Development 225 229 1.5%
Culture & Related Services 548 559 2.0%
Other service expenditure 1 719 671 -6.6%
Non-service expenditure 2 1,142 1,119 -2.0%
Total Net Revenue Expenditure 12,300 12,942 5.2%


1 This includes non-HRA Housing, Central Services and General Fund contributions to trading services.
2 This includes revenue resources used for capital expenditure, debt repayment, interest charges (net of investment income) and surpluses / deficits on trading operations.

Education continues to be the service with highest net revenue expenditure. In 2019-20, councils expect to spend £5,771 million on Education services, an increase of 10.5 per cent (£547 million) from the 2018-19 provisional outturn figure.

Social Work has the second highest net revenue expenditure, with councils expecting to spend £3,518 million on Social Work services in 2019-20. This is an increase of 5.5 per cent (£184 million) from the 2018-19 provisional outturn figure.

Roads & Transport and Other service expenditure have decreased from 2018-19 provisional figures, by 5.6 per cent (£23 million) and 6.6 per cent (£47 million) respectively. Provisional outturn for all other services in 2019-20 are broadly in line with provisional outturn figures for 2018-19.

Non-service expenditure has also decreased, by 2.0 per cent (£23 million), from 2018-19 provisional outturn.

Figure 1: Provisional Outturn for 2018-19 and 2019-20 by Service
Figure 1: Provisional Outturn for 2018-19 and 2019-20 by Service

Table 2 sets out how 2019-20 provisional outturn net revenue expenditure is to be financed. Almost three-fifths, 58 per cent or £7,460 million, is expected to be financed by Scottish Government grants. NDR and Council Tax will finance almost all the remaining net revenue expenditure, accounting for 22 per cent (£2,857 million) and 19 per cent (£2,486 million) respectively, with one per cent (£139 million) expected to be financed from councils' reserves.

Table 2: Financing of net revenue expenditure in 2019-20, £ millions
Source of Financing Amount of Financing % of total net revenue expenditure financed
Scottish Government Grants 1 -7,460 58%
Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) 2 -2,857 22%
Council Tax -2,486 19%
Reserves -139 1%
Total Financing -12,942 100%


1 This consists of SG General Revenue Grant (GRG) and SG Ring-Fenced Revenue Grants (RFRGs).
2 This consists of the NDR Distributable Amount and income retained under the Business Rates Incentivisation Scheme (BRIS) and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF).

Councils held General Fund reserves of £1,126 millionat 1 April 2019. Councils expect to have used £139 million of their reserves to fund expenditure in 2019-20 and to have transferred £46 million from other reserves. This gives a closing General Fund balance of £1,033 million at 31 March 2020, a decrease of 8.2 per cent in councils' General Reserves funds in year.

Of the 32 councils, 22 are expecting their General Fund balance to decrease in 2019-20; eight expect their General Fund balance to increase; and the remaining two expect there to be no change in their General Fund balance.


Email: lgfstats@gov.scot

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