Scotland's finances 2019-2020: key facts and figures

Guide setting out key information about how the system of public finances in Scotland stands in 2019 to 2020 and how this system is changing.

This document is part of a collection


Scotland’s Finances: Key facts and figures for 2019-20

Competent, financially prudent Scottish Government

This part of the guide sets out key information about how the system stands in 2019-20.
The next part sets out how it is changing.

Devolved Finances

  • The Scottish Government is accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the people in Scotland for its use of public money.
  • Scottish Ministers decide spending plans that have to be approved by Holyrood.
  • Since 2009-10, the Scottish Government has produced its accounts on the basis of international accounting standards.


Our financial system in 2019-20

Scottish Budget in 2019-20 is £42.6 Billion

  • The Scottish Government’s latest published accounts are for 2017-18 and they were given a clean bill of health by Audit Scotland. This was the 13th consecutive year they received an unqualified opinion. The 2018-19 accounts will be published in September 2019. 
  • For financial year 2017-18 the Scottish Government, its Executive Agencies and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service made 98.2% of all payments within 10 days.
  • For all taxes set, raised or assigned in Scotland, the block grant is reduced.


The Scottish tax landscape 2019-20


What is planned to be spent in 2019-20


The Fiscal Framework - from 1999 to Today


The Fiscal Framework is an agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments that sets the rules for how Scotland’s tax and social security powers are managed and implemented.

  • The Smith Commission - on whose conclusions the Fiscal Framework is based - envisaged a fundamental change in how the Scottish Government would be funded. It foresaw a substantial proportion of the Government’s Budget coming directly from tax revenues raised in Scotland and greater borrowing powers.  
  • The main objective of the new Fiscal Framework was to change the funding arrangement to support the transfer of tax and social security powers to Scotland while, to a significant extent, retaining the stability of Block Grant funding. It also increased the Scottish Government’s borrowing powers.
  • The guiding principle of the Framework is ‘no detriment’. This means neither the Scottish nor the UK Government being worse off as result of the powers transferring.

How the Scottish budget is calculated


  • Component One - Barnett formula determined Block Grant - Barnett continues to determine the initial size of the Block Grant.
  • Component Two – Adjustment to the Block Grant - The Block Grant is adjusted to reflect the impact of the transfer of tax and social security powers to the Scottish Budget.
  • Component Three – Devolved Revenues - These are the revenues now retained from devolved and assigned tax powers which contribute to Scotland’s funding.

How our funding system is changing


How our Social Security system is changing

  • The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 sets up a Framework for a new Scottish Social Security System.
  • Once powers are devolved the Scottish Parliament will control 16%* of social security spend in Scotland. 
  • The value of social security benefits to be devolved is expected to be in the region of £3.5 billion in 2020-21.

* Percentages based on 2017-18 figures (latest available at publication)


Responsibility for all devolved benefits, including their funding, will sit with the Scottish Government from 1 April 2020.  The timetable for the delivery of the next wave of devolved benefits is:




Back to top