Local Government 2023-24 Provisional Outturn and 2024-25 Budget Estimates

This publication summarises the 2023-24 provisional outturn and 2024-25 budget estimates for revenue and capital services provided by Scottish local authorities.

Executive Summary

Revenue Expenditure

  • Net revenue expenditure on local authority services was provisionally reported as £14,627 million in 2023-24 and budgeted as £15,005 million for 2024-25.
  • This is an increase of 8.4% in 2023-24, and is estimated to increase by a further 2.6% in 2024-25.
  • Education and Social Work continue to be the services with highest net revenue expenditure in both 2023-24 and 2024-25.

General Funding

  • Local authorities reported provisional general funding of £14,910 million in 2023-24, and budgeted for £15,952 million of general funding in 2024-25.

General Fund and Harbour Account Reserves

  • General Fund (including Harbour Account) reserves at 31 March 2024 were provisionally reported as £2,930 million, and budgeted to be £2,676 million at 31 March 2025. For context, General Fund (including harbour account) reserve balances were at around £1,600 million on 31 March 2020. Therefore, whilst reserve balances remain above pre-pandemic levels for Scotland, these are beginning to be brought down.
  • Harbour Account reserves remain fairly constant at around £300 million as at 31 March each year.

Capital Expenditure

  • Capital expenditure across local authorities was provisionally reported as £3,916 million in 2023-24, and budgeted as £5,174 million in 2024-25.
  • Housing Revenue Account (HRA) has the highest capital expenditure in both 2023-24 and 2024-25, accounting for 30% and 28% of all capital expenditure in both years. Education is expected to have the second highest in both years, accounting for 18% in 2023-24 and 24% in 2024-25.
  • The main sources of capital financing are grants & contributions, and borrowing. In-year, borrowing is expected to increase from £1,533 million in 2022-23, to £1,859 million in 2023-24, and then to £3,109 million in 2024-25. In 2023-24 and 2024-25, in-year borrowing is anticipated to overtake grants & contributions as the primary source of capital financing.
  • Total external debt was provisionally reported as £20,587 million in 2023-24, and budgeted as £23,508 million in 2024-25, with local authorities continuing to remain under-borrowed.


Email: lgfstats@gov.scot

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