Scope of the Account
The Scottish Consolidated Fund (SCF) was set up following devolution in 1999 and received its statutory powers under the Scotland Act 1998.
This account has been prepared under sections 19 (2) and 19 (4) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 which require the Scottish Ministers to prepare and lay before Parliament an account showing payments into and out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.
The Scottish Consolidated Fund receives, from the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (formerly the Scotland Office), sums which have been voted by the UK Parliament for the purpose of “grant payable to the Fund”. A number of other receipts are also paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund, including receipts from the collection of devolved taxes.
Under devolved powers from the Scotland Act 2012, the Scottish Parliament was granted authority to set a Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) from 2016-17 onwards. Income tax continues to be administered by HM Revenue and Customs, but Scottish Income Tax revenues from earned income of Scottish taxpayers are assigned to the Scottish Administration. Assigned income tax revenues are drawn down from the UK Exchequer and paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund.
Also under devolved powers from the 2012 Scotland Act, devolved taxes in respect of Land and Buildings Transactions Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax have been managed in Scotland from 2015-16 onwards. Revenue Scotland was established by the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 to administer and collect both taxes. The taxes collected by Revenue Scotland are paid to the Scottish Consolidated Fund under sections 28 to 31 of the Scotland Act 2012.
The Devolved Taxes Account is prepared and published separately and can be accessed at www.gov.scot. The grant payable from the UK Parliament has been adjusted to take account of these locally raised tax receipts.
Section 32 of the Scotland Act 2012 as amended by section 20 of the Scotland Act 2016 grants Scottish Ministers enhanced borrowing powers, with any sums borrowed and repaid (including interest) to be paid into and out of the SCF respectively. Loan facilities under these powers provide for both shorter-term (resource) and longer-term (capital) borrowing. These powers were exercised during 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, when in each year capital loans were taken out, and in 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 when both capital and resource loans were taken out. All loans were taken out with the National Loans Fund (NLF). More details of sums borrowed and repaid under these provisions are set out in Note 7 to the accounts.
Receipts not authorised to be used to support expenditure shall also, by virtue of section 64 (3) of the Scotland Act 1998, be payable into the Fund, for example monies recovered under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime legislation.
Funding is drawn down from the Scottish Consolidated Fund to support the spending plans approved by the Scottish Parliament in the annual Budget Act.
In addition, in accordance with the Scotland Act 1998 (Designation of Receipts) Order 2009 as amended by the Scotland Act 1998 (Designation of Receipts) Order 2017, certain receipts to the Scottish Consolidated Fund are designated to be paid to the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Sums are paid from the SCF in accordance with sections 4 and 6 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
Those bodies that draw down funding from the Scottish Consolidated Fund, principally the Scottish Government, provide annual accounts reporting their stewardship of those funds.
These accounts can be read in conjunction with the Devolved Taxes Account and the annual accounts of the Scottish Government and other bodies funded from the Scottish Budget to follow the flow of funds into and out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund, funding the use of resources authorised by the Scottish Parliament. These form a suite of accounts information that describe the fiscal activity of the Scottish Government, and also include the annual accounts of other bodies within the Scottish Administration and of the bodies funded directly from the Scottish Budget, which together report on the use of resources authorised by the Scottish Parliament for the financial year. The Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts and the Devolved Taxes Account can be accessed online at gov.scot.
These accounts show the transactions for the services set out above. The receipts paid into the SCF during the year totalled £50,511 million with payments from the Fund of £50,519 million. The effect of the resulting deficit of £8 million is to reduce the balance at the Government Banking Service by this amount to £197 million.
The main receipts paid into the SCF comprise funding from the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish Income Tax; the source of these receipts is the UK Consolidated Fund, and their maximum value is set by the cash requirement in the UK Main Estimates and any amendments to it. The main payments out of the SCF are the payments authorised by the Budget Acts and any amendments; the maximum value of these is set by the cash authorisation in the Scottish Budget Acts and any amendments to it. The Performance Report section of the Financial Statements in the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts provides a breakdown of the outturn for the financial year compared to the Budget authorised by the Scottish Parliament.
Principal Accountable Officer
The Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government, in his role as the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Administration, is required to sign any account prepared in pursuance of section 19 (2) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
The accounts of the SCF are audited by Carole Grant, Audit Director at Audit Scotland, who is appointed by the Auditor General for Scotland as set out in section 21 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
Principal Accountable Officer
06 November 2023
The Scottish Consolidated Fund Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2023
Laid before the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish Ministers
16 November 2023
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