Local authorities are responsible for delivering a wide range of services, including education, social work, transport, housing, environmental services and cultural services. In Scotland, local government primarily comprises of 32 councils, the boundaries of which are shown in Annex A. There are also:
- ten Valuation Joint Boards (VJBs), who provide valuation services to councils. Primarily, VJBs maintain the valuation roll for non-domestic properties and the Council Tax valuation list for domestic dwellings. These are then used as the basis for local taxation billing liability.
- seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs), which were established by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005 to lead on regional transport strategy and delivery.
- the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board, which is responsible for the operation, management and maintenance of the Tay Road Bridge.
Most of these additional boards are the collective responsibility of two or more councils – a list of local authority joint board membership is provided at Annex B. The Tay Road Bridge Joint Board comprises councillors from Dundee City, Fife and Angus; however, finance is provided directly from the Scottish Government.
This publication summarises the 2020-21 provisional outturn and 2021-22 budget estimates for revenue and capital expenditure across the 50 local authorities described above. To provide some broader context, the figures in this publication are presented alongside the final, audited figures from 2017-18 to 2019-20. However, the following should be noted when interpreting comparisons between final, audited figures; provisional outturn; and budget estimates.
Provisional outturn figures are calculated before the end of the financial year. They reflect actual expenditure up to the time they were produced and forecasts of anticipated spend for the remainder of the year. The point in time that these figures are calculated varies between local authorities, but generally falls between December and February. This means that any significant movements in expenditure late in the year, as well as various end of year accounting transactions, will cause significant differences between these figures and final, audited figures.
Budget estimates reflect local authorities’ financial plans for the current year based on anticipated demand for services and the resources available to deliver those services, both of which are subject to change over the course of the year.
Covid-19 related expenditure and income is included within the appropriate service figures; for example, expenditure relating to additional cleaning of schools would be recorded against Education. Any Covid-19 related expenditure / income that could not be allocated to an existing service, such as support for Test and Protect, or was unallocated at the time the data was provided was recorded against Central Services: Other.
Please note, throughout the publication:
- all years refer to the relevant financial year. For example, 2020-21 refers to activity from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021;
- figures within tables / charts may not sum to the total exactly due to rounding;
- absolute zeroes are presented as a '–' and figures which round to zero are presented as '0';
- figures are presented on a funding basis; this means local authorities have made adjustments to remove certain accounting transactions that have been charged to services, such as depreciation and pension costs;
- all figures are presented in cash terms; this means they have not been adjusted for inflation;
- expenditure and income figures are presented as positive figures. However, net expenditure figures may be presented as negative where gross income has exceeded gross expenditure and so the net position relates to income.
Final, audited figures for 2019-20 have been revised where necessary to correct any errors identified since publication in April 2021. None of the revisions made have a significant impact on Scotland-level figures or affect the key trends discussed in Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2019-20 and so no revisions have been made to the SLGFS 2019-20 publication. Please note that published source 2019-20 LFR workbooks have been updated to reflect these revisions.
All the figures reported in this publication have been collected via the Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimates (POBE) 2021 return with the help of the 50 local authorities in Scotland. The continued co-operation of these bodies in completing these returns is gratefully acknowledged. This publication focuses on Scotland-level figures only; however, workbooks containing the full source data from each local authority’s return are available as supporting files to this publication.
Final, audited local government finance statistics are published in the Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics (SLGFS). The latest SLGFS was published in April 2021 and provided final, audited figures for 2019-20. SLGFS publications are available at www.gov.scot/collections/local-government-finance-statistics/#scottishlocalgovernmentfinancialstatistics.
More information on local government in Scotland is available at www.gov.scot/policies/local-government/.
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