Scottish Government consolidated accounts: annual report 2019 to 2020

Annual report of the consolidated financial results of the Scottish Government, its Executive Agencies and the Crown Office, prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The Audit Scotland report on the accounts is also linked and is unqualified.

Performance Report

About the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is the devolved government for Scotland and has a range of responsibilities that include: the economy, education, health, justice, rural affairs, housing, environment, equal opportunities, consumer advocacy and advice, transport and taxation.

Some powers are reserved to the UK Government. These include: immigration, the constitution, foreign policy and defence. Further changes to the responsibilities devolved to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament have resulted from the Scotland Act 2012 and the Scotland Act 2016.

After a Scottish Parliamentary election, the First Minister is formally nominated by the Scottish Parliament and appointed by Her Majesty the Queen. The First Minister then appoints the Scottish Ministers to make up the Cabinet with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament and the approval of The Queen.

Scottish Cabinet Ministers and their responsibilities

The Cabinet is the main decision-making body of the Scottish Government. It is made up of the First Minister, all Cabinet Secretaries, the Minister for Parliamentary Business and the Permanent Secretary.

The First Minister appoints a Cabinet Secretary for each of the core portfolios described below, and additional Ministers to support the work of the Scottish Cabinet, and two Law Officers (Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland).

Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister

Head of the Scottish Government: responsible for development, implementation and presentation of Government policy, constitutional affairs, and for promoting and representing Scotland at home and overseas.

Following the Scottish Parliamentary election on 5 May 2016, the First Minister announced a new Scottish Cabinet, identifying education and the economy as priorities, along with the reform and improvement of public services and the ability to respond to challenges such as climate change in the years to come.

The Cabinet Team members serving during 2019-20 are as follows:

John Swinney MSP

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Responsibilities include:

  • school standards, quality and improvement
  • school infrastructure & staffing
  • educational attainment, qualifications and closing the attainment gap
  • National Improvement Framework
  • teaching profession
  • behaviour and measures to combat bullying
  • modern languages and the Gaelic and Scots languages
  • Named Person
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • non-advanced vocational skills
  • historical abuse enquiry

Humza Yousaf MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Justice

Responsibilities include:

  • police
  • courts, sentencing
  • justice system and criminal law procedure
  • violence reduction
  • criminal justice social work, victims, witnesses, female offenders
  • human rights
  • prisons and prisoners
  • reducing reoffending
  • security
  • youth justice

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

Responsibilities include:

  • welfare policy, social security
  • measures against poverty (with CSCLG)
  • Best Start Grant (replacing the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant)
  • Funeral Expense Assistance (replacing the UK Government's Funeral Payment)
  • Carers Allowance (at which point we will stop paying Carers Allowance Supplement)
  • Young Carers Grant
  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments

Derek Mackay MSP (until 5 February 2020)

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work

Responsibilities include:

  • Scottish economy
  • Inclusive Growth
  • managing the public finances
  • fiscal policy and taxation
  • Scottish budget, budgetary monitoring and reporting
  • government procurement
  • efficient government
  • National Performance Framework
  • public bodies policy
  • Scottish Futures Trust
  • Scottish Enterprise - national enterprise agency
  • trade and inward investment
  • trade unions
  • public sector pay
  • Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Registers of Scotland

Kate Forbes MSP (from 18 February 2020)

Cabinet Secretary for Finance

Responsibilities include:

  • budget bill
  • managing the public finances
  • fiscal policy and taxation
  • income and ADT
  • fiscal framework
  • Scottish budget, budgetary monitoring and reporting
  • government procurement
  • National Performance Framework
  • public bodies policy
  • Scottish futures trust
  • public sector pay
  • Digital Economy

Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Responsibilities include:

  • climate change and environmental protection
  • biodiversity
  • Crown Estate
  • environmental and climate justice
  • flood prevention & coastal erosion
  • land use and land reform
  • animal welfare
  • wildlife crime
  • water quality and Scottish Water

Fergus Ewing MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism

Responsibilities include:

  • agriculture and crofting
  • fisheries and aquaculture
  • food and drink
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • South of Scotland Enterprise Agency
  • rural Scotland
  • animal health
  • forestry
  • tourism (from 18/02/2020)

Jeane Freeman MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Responsibilities include:

  • NHS and its performance, staff and pay
  • Health care and social integration
  • patient services and patient safety
  • primary care, acute services elective centres Implementing the 2020 Vision, national clinical strategy, quality strategy and national service planning
  • allied Healthcare services
  • carers, adult care and support
  • child and maternal health
  • dentistry
  • medical records, health improvement and protection

Aileen Campbell MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Responsibilities include:

  • social justice
  • tackling inequalities
  • measures against poverty (with CSSS)
  • community empowerment, devolution to communities and reform of local government
  • democratic renewal
  • third sector and social economy
  • advocacy and advice
  • religious and faith organisations

Fiona Hyslop MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture

Responsibilities include:

  • creative industries
  • culture
  • architecture and built heritage
  • broadcasting
  • co-ordination on bringing major events to Scotland
  • National Records

From 18/02/2020:

  • Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Scottish economy
  • inclusive growth and fair work
  • trades unions
  • Scottish enterprise – national enterprise agency
  • trade and inward investment

Michael Russell MSP

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs

Responsibilities include:

  • The UK's exit from the European Union
  • International relations (from 18/02/2020)
  • Government and parliamentary business
  • Constitutional Relations and intra-governmental affairs

Michael Matheson MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Responsibilities include:

  • transport and public transport
  • infrastructure investment policy
  • cities & City Deals
  • town centres

The Cabinet is supported by the following ministerial team:

Graeme Dey MSP:

Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans

Kevin Stewart MSP:

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning

Paul Wheelhouse MSP:

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands

Ash Denham MSP:

Minister for Community Safety

Maree Todd MSP:

Minister for Children and Young People

Jamie Hepburn MSP:

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Joe FitzPatrick MSP:

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing

Clare Haughey MSP:

Minister for Mental Health

Ben Macpherson MSP:

Minister for Public Finance and Migration

Christina McKelvie MSP:

Minister for Older People and Equalities

Ivan McKee MSP:

Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation

Jenny Gilruth MSP:

Minister for Europe and International Development (from 18/02/2020)

Mairi Gougeon MSP:

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

Richard Lochhead MSP:

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Law Officers during 2019-20 (unchanged from 2018-19)

James Wolffe QC Lord Advocate

Alison Di Rollo Solicitor General

Further information on Cabinet and Ministerial responsibilities is available from the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government websites, at and respectively.

The Civil Service and Government Officials

The First Minister leads the Scottish Government, with the support of the Scottish Cabinet and Ministers. The civil service helps the government of the day develop and implement its policies as well as deliver public services. Civil servants are accountable to Ministers, who in turn are accountable to Parliament.

The Permanent Secretary leads the civil service in Scotland and supports the government in developing, implementing and communicating its policies; and is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet. The Permanent Secretary is also the Principal Accountable Officer with responsibility to ensure that the government's money and resources are used effectively and properly.

The government is structured into a number of directorates and their related public bodies. Directorates and agencies are managed by six Directors General (DGs).

Scottish Government Senior Management Team (Corporate Board)

The Scottish Government Senior Management Team are responsible for ensuring that the Scottish Government is organised and managed in the most effective way to support Ministers in the implementation of their policies. Further information on the management structure of the Scottish Government is available on the Scottish Government website at

The Non-Executive Directors provide direct, external, support, challenge and guidance to their “paired” Directors General (DGs) and senior staff in relation to the delivery of their portfolio-based risk, assurance and internal controls framework, and participate in the Corporate Board, one or more of the formal sub-Boards, DG Assurance meetings linked to their paired DG(s) and Scottish Government Audit and Assurance Committee. Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director, was the Chair of the Scottish Government Audit and Assurance Committee for the period covered by the Accounts - 2019/20. A Deputy Chair of the Scottish Government Audit and Assurance Committee – Jim Robertson – was appointed in March 2019.

Directors General in 2019-20 were:

  • Leslie Evans Permanent Secretary
  • Sarah Davidson DG Organisational Development and Operations (until 30/06/2019)
  • Lesley Fraser DG Organisational Development and Operations (from 01/07/2019)
  • Liz Ditchburn DG Economy
  • Malcolm Wright OBE DG Health & Social Care
  • Paul Johnston DG Education, Communities & Justice
  • Alyson Stafford CBE DG Scottish Exchequer
  • Ken Thomson DG Constitution & External Affairs
  • Directors serving as members of Corporate Board during 2019-20 were:
  • Barbara Allison Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities
  • Nicky Richards Director of People
  • Gordon Wales Chief Financial Officer
  • Ruaraidh Macniven Solicitor to the Scottish Government (from 17/06/2019)

Non-executive members of the Corporate Board during 2019-20 were:

  • Janet Hamblin
  • Linda McKay
  • Ronnie Hinds
  • Hugh McKay
  • Annie Gunner Logan

Subsequent to the end of the financial year three members of the Corporate Board have departed the Scottish Government. Gordon Wales departed on 10 July 2020, Malcolm Wright departed on 31 July 2020 and Janet Hamblin departed on 31 August 2020.

Register of Interests

Members of the Corporate Board whom held company directorships and other significant interests during 2019-20 were:


Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary: Member of Institute of Directors.

Sarah Davidson, Director General Organisational Development and Operations (until 30/06/2019): Member of Advisory Board for Business in the Community Scotland (representing SG). Shares held with CO Funds.

Lesley Fraser, Director General Organisational Development and Operations (from 01/07/2019): Shares with RBS.

Alyson Stafford CBE, Director General Scottish Exchequer: Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Trust Investments with Fidelity via Origen Financial Services.

Malcolm Wright OBE, Director General Health and Social Care: Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Winston Churchill Fellow.

Barbara Allison, Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities: Treasurer for Women of Scotland Luncheon, which is an annual lunch supporting worthwhile causes, and member of Board of Scottish Ballet. Judge on HR Network Awards Competition.

Nicola Richards, Director of People: Shares held with Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity.

Gordon Wales, Chief Financial Officer: Shares held with Halifax PLC.

Ruaraidh Macniven, Solicitor to the Scottish Government (from 17/06/2019): Member of the Law Society of Scotland, Member of the Society of Solicitor Advocate, and Co-opted Member of the Council of the Law Society.

Non-Executive Directors:

Janet Hamblin: Partner of RSM; Member of the Audit Committee of Merchant Company of Edinburgh; Chair of Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association Audit and Risk Committee; Board Member of the Lyceum Theatre.

Ronnie Hinds: Chair of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Hugh McKay: Non-Executive Director at Lloyds Development Capital; and Non-Executive Director - Trustee at The Chartered Bankers Institute (non-remunerated position).

Annie Gunner Logan: Director and Company Secretary at Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS).

SG2020 Transformation Programme

The Scottish Government is facing the biggest ever shift in responsibilities - raising taxes as well as spending them. To meet the challenges ahead, the organisation is committed to being:

  • accessible, trusted, an engaged and credible partner;
  • clear about roles and expectations of others; and
  • valuing diversity and representative of the communities served.
  • world class in the approach to government, transforming Scotland by designing and delivering excellent public services and supporting ministers;
  • accountable, efficient and effective in performance and approach to tax-raising and spending;
  • competent, professional, inclusive, skilled and knowledgeable: an exemplar of fair work and an employer of choice; and
  • well-led with consistently good management of people and change.
  • ambitious for Scotland and confident about improving outcomes;
  • focused on priorities, flexible and effective in matching resources and capabilities; and
  • designing better places, networks and systems.

More detailed information about the actions planned by the Scottish Government to meet the challenges ahead is provided in the publication of the Programme for Government[1]

How the Scottish Budget is funded

There are a number of sources of funding to support the expenditure planned and approved by the Scottish Parliament in the Scottish Budget Act.

The Scottish Consolidated Fund was set up following devolution in 1999 and received its statutory powers under the Scotland Act 1998. The Scottish Consolidated Fund receives, from the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, sums which have been voted by the UK Parliament for the purpose of "grant payable to the Fund". Funding is drawn down by the Scottish Government from the Scottish Consolidated Fund to support the spending plans laid out in the draft budget.

The primary receipts to the Scottish Consolidated Fund are: the block grant from HM Treasury; revenue collected by HMRC on behalf of the Scottish Government under the provisions for Scottish Income Tax; Devolved taxes collected by Revenue Scotland which are currently Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Landfill Tax; and borrowing.

The block grant from UK Government is allocated to the Secretary of State for Scotland through the approval of the UK Parliament, and forms part of the UK public expenditure control regime. This requires the Scottish Government to plan, monitor and report its spending against the control aggregates set by the UK Parliament and HM Treasury alongside those set by the Scottish Parliament.

The Scotland Act 2016 empowered the Scottish Parliament to set Scottish Income Tax rates and bands. During 2019-20, £11.7 billion in income tax revenues derived from Scottish Income Tax were assigned to the Scottish Administration and paid to the Scottish Consolidated Fund. Identification of Scottish taxpayers and administering the tax are matters for the UK Government and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Under devolved powers from the 2012 Scotland Act, 2019-20 was the fifth year in which devolved taxes in respect of Land and Buildings Transactions and Landfill Tax have been managed in Scotland. A total of £717 million has been collected, £30 million below the initial estimates, which has been managed within the in-year budget. The block grant has been adjusted to take account of these locally raised tax receipts.

Revenue Scotland was established by the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 to administer and collect both fully devolved taxes. Revenue Scotland is responsible for preparing an account of the devolved taxes (The Devolved Taxes Account). The taxes collected by Revenue Scotland are paid to the Scottish Consolidated Fund. The Devolved Taxes Account and the Scottish Consolidated Fund Account are prepared and published separately and can be accessed online at and

From the 2016 Scotland Act, the Scotland Reserve, effective from 1 April 2017, provides the Scottish Government with a limited tool to manage the smoothing of all types of spending and to assist with the management of tax volatility and determine the timing of expenditure.

As further powers are devolved to Scotland, and the ability to use the existing fiscal levers to influence the funds available is increasing, the impact of accurate tax forecasting becomes greater. The Scottish Fiscal Commission was established in June 2014 as a non-statutory body to provide independent scrutiny of Scottish Government forecasts of receipts from taxes devolved to Scotland. By March 2016 the Scotland Act 2016[2] devolving more fiscal powers to Scotland was passed, and the associated Fiscal Framework[3] was agreed between the Scottish Government and UK Government. The Fiscal Framework changed the remit of the Scottish Fiscal Commission as reflected in the Scottish Fiscal Commission Act 2016[4] which received Royal Assent on 14 April 2016. Further information about the Scottish Fiscal Commission can be found at

Further information about the Scottish Budget setting and authorisation process can be found within The Scottish Budget 2020-21[5].

The total budget approved by the Scottish Parliament includes activities not included in these accounts. Note 23 to these accounts provides a reconciliation to the total budget.

The fiscal activity of the Scottish Government is described in a suite of accounts information: the Scottish Consolidated Fund account, incorporating additional reporting on the use of borrowing powers and the related Devolved Taxes Account report on the funding available to the Scottish Government in the financial year; the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts, the annual accounts of the other bodies within the Scottish Administration and of the bodies funded directly from the Scottish Budget together report on the use of resources authorised by the Scottish Parliament for the financial year.

Accounting Boundary

These accounts reflect the consolidated assets and liabilities and the results of all entities within the Scottish Government consolidation accounting boundary as required by and defined in the Government Financial Reporting Manual (FReM). This consists of ten internal Portfolios, supported by Administration, their Executive Agencies (each linked to a specific portfolio, and this year including the new Scottish Forestry Agency for the first time), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the NHS Bodies responsible for the planning, promotion, commissioning and the delivery of healthcare. The portfolio analysis in these accounts reflects the portfolios designated by the First Minister from 27 June 2018. The consolidation boundary includes the following:

Finance, Economy and Fair Work Portfolio

Executive Agencies: Scottish Public Pensions Agency (

Accountant in Bankruptcy (

Health and Sport Portfolio

Other Consolidated Bodies: The NHS Bodies in Scotland (

Mental Welfare Commission (

Education and Skills Portfolio

Executive Agencies: Disclosure Scotland (

Education Scotland (

Student Awards Agency Scotland (

Justice Portfolio

Executive Agency: Scottish Prison Service (

Social Security and Older People Portfolio

Executive Agency: Social Security Scotland (

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Portfolio

Rural Economy Portfolio

Executive Agency: Scottish Forestry (

Communities and Local Government Portfolio

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Portfolio

Government Business and Constitutional Relations Portfolio

Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Portfolio

Executive Agency: Transport Scotland (

Other Consolidated The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Bodies: (

In addition to inclusion within these consolidated accounts, the executive agencies and other bodies detailed above also publish separate accounts providing greater detail about their income and expenditure and assets and liabilities. The accounts can be accessed at the websites noted above.

The Scottish Government is also the sole shareholder of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, David MacBrayne Ltd, Highland and Islands Airports Limited, Scottish Futures Trust, Prestwick Holdco Limited and Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Ltd, and sponsor of a number of executive, advisory and tribunal Non-Departmental Public Bodies. These bodies are regarded as related parties with which the Scottish Government has had various transactions during the year, but do not fall within the Scottish Government consolidation accounting boundary. Further details of Scottish Public Bodies are available on our website[6].

The financial statements of NHS Boards include NHS Endowment Funds. These Endowment Funds are Registered Charities with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and they are also required by OSCR to prepare audited financial statements. NHS Endowment Funds are not part of the Scottish Government accounting boundary, and therefore they have not been included in Scottish Government consolidated accounts.

These accounts report actual outturn compared to the budget authorised by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government also routinely reports to Parliament each year on the Final Outturn for the Scottish Administration in an additional statement. This brings together the audited information from the bodies within the Scottish Administration to show this against the Budget limit authorised by the Scottish Parliament.

Performance Overview

The Budget Framework

The Scottish Government set out its spending plans for 2019-20 in December 2018 in The Draft Budget[7]. Approval for a detailed budget for 2019-20 was given by the Parliament in March 2019 in the Budget (Scotland) Act 2019. The annual Budget is refined through in-year budget revisions, Parliamentary approval for which is given by statutory instrument.

The Scottish Government’s Purpose

The Scottish Government’s purpose is to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The Programme for Government

Through the Programme for Government[8] the plans for the year are set out, including the Bills to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

Exit from the EU

The uncertainty of the outcome of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU remains one of our most significant risks, this risk has been compounded with the impact of COVID-19. We continue to have robust controls in place to manage this risk.

As negotiations between the UK government and the European Union around the settlement arrangements continue, it is not yet possible to fully quantify the impact of the decision for the UK to leave the EU on Scotland but the fluctuations in exchange rates and other economic features will inevitably be reflected in the financial performance reported in these and future accounts.

The Scottish Government has been engaging with the UK Government to ensure that Scotland’s fiscal interests are safeguarded as the UK leaves the European Union.

There is further commentary on the impact of and arrangements for exit from the EU in the Governance Statement within the Accountability section of these annual accounts.

Covid 19 Response and Impact

The Scottish Government has published information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) :Scotland Strategic Framework Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework[9]. There is further commentary on the response to COVID-19 in the Performance Analysis and the Governance Statement of these accounts.

National Performance Framework

Through the National Performance Framework[10] (NPF), the Government sets out:


The framework is for all of Scotland. The Government aims to:

  • create a more successful country;
  • give opportunities to all people living in Scotland;
  • increase the wellbeing of people living in Scotland;
  • create sustainable and inclusive growth; and
  • reduce inequalities and give equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress.


The values guide the Government’s approach to:

  • treat all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion;
  • respect the rule of law; and
  • act in an open and transparent way.

National outcomes

To help achieve its purpose, the framework sets out ‘national outcomes’.

These outcomes describe the kind of Scotland it aims to create.

The outcomes:

  • reflect the values and aspirations of the people of Scotland;
  • are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • help to track progress in reducing inequality.

These national outcomes are that people:

  • grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential;
  • live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe;
  • are creative and their vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely;
  • have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy;
  • are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society;
  • value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment;
  • have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone;
  • are healthy and active;
  • respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination;
  • are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally; and
  • tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.

National Indicators

The framework measures Scotland’s progress against the national outcomes. To do this, it uses ‘national indicators’.

These indicators give a measure of national wellbeing. They include a range of economic, social and environmental indicators.

More information about performance against outcomes can be found at National Indicator Performance[11].

Performance Analysis

Performing for outcomes

As set out in the National Performance Framework (NPF) section of these accounts, the NPF is for all of Scotland, not just the Scottish Government, and the NPF website[12] provides an overview of how Scotland is progressing towards our national outcomes through a range of social, environmental and economic indicators.

In terms of Scottish Government performance, a range of performance information in a variety of forms, reflecting the breadth of Scottish Government activity, is published on the Scottish Government website[13].

Some of the deliverables enabled by Scottish Government funding this year include:

  • Increased spending on health and care services: continued to shift the share of the frontline NHS budget dedicated to mental health and to primary, community, and social care. Increased investment in reform with the specific intention of prioritising front-line services and improving patient outcomes. Invested £120 million in integration, covering delivery of Living Wage, increasing provision of free personal care and school counselling.
  • Invested in education: over £180 million invested in the Attainment Scotland Fund, including over £120 million in Pupil Equity Funding provided directly to head teachers in over 95% of schools across Scotland to tackle the poverty related attainment gap. This funding has supported schools to develop and embed approaches to best support and improve the life chances of children and young people from the most deprived backgrounds.
  • In October 2019, the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) received Royal Assent and was commenced in full in March 2020. The 2019 Act sets targets to reduce Scotland’s emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with annual and interim reductions targets. The rigorous framework of Scotland’s 2009 Climate Change Act (which the 2019 legislation amends) has supported strong progress to date. The Act places the principles of a just transition to net-zero into statute and at the heart of future Climate Change Plans. Progress towards Scotland’s emissions targets is reported on our website[14].
  • In 2019-20, further work was undertaken as part of Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan to develop the Scottish Child Payment, ready for launch in November 2020. Our second annual progress report on child poverty outlines the considerable progress we have made in delivering the range of action committed. The report highlights that our estimated investment targeted at children living in poverty increased by £144 million to over £672 million in 2019-20 from the last year. This was part of over £1.96 billion invested to support low income households.
  • Delivered the UK’s fairest income tax system: our tax policy choices in 2019-20 ensured that 55% of Scottish taxpayers paid less Income Tax than they would have if they lived elsewhere in the UK, while still raising the revenue needed to support investment in the Scottish economy and public services.
  • Maintained a competitive Non-domestic rates regime, including delivering a below inflation increase in the rates poundage, the lowest poundage available anywhere in the UK, and the Small Business Bonus Scheme which provides record relief to over 119,000 business properties across Scotland and has lifted 100,000 recipients out of rates altogether.
  • Invested in capital infrastructure development: launched a £50 million Town Centre Fund and invested £2.9 million in supporting the development of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland facility. Work on dualling the A9 is ongoing which, once completed, will stimulate economic growth for the local area.
  • Delivered a new Public Sector Pay Deal: this provided a pay uplift of 3% for those earning up to £36,500, ensuring over 70% of staff covered by the deal received an increase of at least 3%.
  • Via the Scottish Funding Council, in 2019-20 we provided over £1.8 billion to our Scotland’s colleges and universities. This included provision for 128,290 funded places at university and 116,000 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) places at college. We also provided capital maintenance support to both sectors which in 2019-20 included the completion of Forth Valley College's new Falkirk campus and additional financial support in the form of Financial Transactions to our universities to support projects related to low carbon and energy saving, estates development, improving the student experience and collaborative activities.
  • Improved mental health services for young people: utilised £27 million of increased investment to ensure every secondary school in Scotland has access to a counsellor. Training has also commenced for the first cohort of 50 additional school nurses to increase mental health support for young people.
  • Increased investment in Integration Authorities: Integration Authorities have maximised over £9.7 billion of increased investment to support the coordination and delivery of social care, primary care and community health services to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
  • In 2019-20, £346 million was paid out to clients across Scotland through the following benefits: Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Allowance Supplement, Best Start Grant: Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant: Early Learning Payment (from 29 April 2019), Best Start Grant: School Age Payment (from 3 June 2019), Funeral Support Payment (from 16 September 2019) and Young Carer Grant (from 21 October 2019). Improved social security benefits based on dignity and respect: The first Benefit Take-up Strategy was published, increasing awareness and access to Scottish benefits, including providing £600,000 to support hard to reach groups to access benefits.
  • Provided local government with a real terms increase in both revenue and capital funding, and a real terms increase in total overall support provided through the settlement of £11.1 billion. A selection of reports is available under the Communities and Local Government section below.
  • Invested almost £500 million to expand funded early learning and childcare, supporting the recruitment and training of staff and investment in building, refurbishment and extension of around 750 nurseries and family centres.
  • Provided initial funding of £130 million towards the establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank, which will be operational by the end of 2020.
  • Protected the police resource budget in real terms, continued reform funding to support transformation, and increased the police capital budget to enhance effective mobile working.
  • Provided over £20 million for Zero Waste activities, to support the transition to a more resource-efficient, circular economy, cutting waste and carbon emissions and opening up economic opportunities. This includes design and implementation work for a deposit return scheme, the legislation for which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2020.
  • Invested £80 million in Active Travel to help build an Active Nation with over £50 million going to the Places for Everyone infrastructure Programme to build ambitious active travel infrastructure projects, many of which span several years. We have invested in behaviour change Programmes including over £1 million on Bikeability to give over 43,000 children the skills and confidence to cycle safely.
  • Continued investment in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) Programme extended fibre broadband access across the country.
  • Provided over £839 million and delivered 9,286 affordable homes, as part of our total investment of over £3.5 billion to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the Parliament which brought delivery at the end of year four of the target to 34,791 affordable homes, of which over 23,000 are for social rent.
  • Continued to invest in transformation of the homelessness system through the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund, principally through delivery of the actions in our 2018 Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. In year 1 of the plan (2019) we progressed 34 of the actions and continue to work with partners to progress the remaining 15 throughout 2020/21. On top of this, we provided £1.5 million to meet the immediate needs of homeless people during the pandemic. In response to Covid-19 and the challenges and opportunities this presents we published an updated action plan[15] in October 2020 with increased ambition and a range of new actions to achieve our aims

To demonstrate how money that is provided to the Government is spent on progressing the longer term outcomes as articulated by the Portfolios in the Scottish Budget 2020-2021 and tracked to the 2019-2020 priorities, a list of references to relevant performance information already published elsewhere is presented below. This signposts to existing performance reporting on some areas of major spend within each portfolio and links these to the National Outcomes.

This does not provide a complete picture of performance reporting, but it is a step towards the longer-term aim of better demonstrating the connection between spend, delivery and outcomes.

Due to the timing of publications, some of the performance reports signposted below will refer to the previous financial year (2018-2019).

Performance Reports by Portfolio presented with associated primary and secondary National Outcomes[16]

Health & Sport

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Children

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Communities
  • Economy
  • Poverty
  • Fair Work & Business
  • Education

Communities and Local Government

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Communities
  • Children

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Poverty
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Education
  • Human Rights
  • International

Education and Skills

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Education
  • Children

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Poverty
  • Economy
  • Communities
  • Fair Work & Business
  • International
  • Human Rights
  • Health


Primary National Outcomes:

  • Communities
  • Human Rights

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Children
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Fair Work & business
  • International

Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Economy
  • Environment

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Fair Work & Business
  • Communities
  • Poverty
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • International

Finance, Economy and Fair Work

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Economy
  • Fair Work & Business
  • Poverty
  • Communities

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Education
  • International
  • Environment

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Environment

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Economy
  • Health
  • Communities
  • International
  • Human Rights
  • Fair Work & Business

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Culture

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Economy
  • Health
  • Communities
  • Environment
  • Fair Work & Business

Social Security and Older People

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Poverty
  • Human Rights

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Children

Rural Economy

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Economy
  • Environment

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Communities
  • Fair Work & Business
  • Health
  • Education
  • International

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Communities

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Human Rights
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Fair Work & Business

Government Business and Constitutional Relations

Primary National Outcomes:

  • Communities

Secondary National Outcomes:

  • Culture
  • Economy
  • International
  • Education
  • Health
  • Children
  • Poverty

Outturn against Budget

These accounts report actual outturn compared to the budget authorised by the Scottish Parliament. The annual budget authorised by the Scottish Parliament is the budget for the wider Scottish Administration and includes the funding of activities which are not within the Scottish Government, and therefore outside the required accounting boundary of these accounts. There are also some differences between the HMT required budgeting rules and the government financial reporting accounting requirements that have to be accommodated in any comparison. These accounts therefore compare the actual outturn to the budget, both stated on the same accounting basis. There is a reconciliation and explanation of the budget reflected in the accounts with that shown in the annual budget documents provided in Note 23.

As described above, spending plans for financial year 2019-20 were set out in Scottish Budget: Draft Budget 2019-20 published in December 2018. After consideration by the Scottish Parliament Finance and Constitution Committee and other Committees, these plans were presented in the Budget Bill introduced in January 2019 and received Royal Assent as the Budget (Scotland) Act 2018 in March 2019. Parliamentary approval for the in-year revisions to the plans set out in the Budget (Scotland) Act was granted in the Autumn Budget Revision made in November 2019 and Spring Budget Revision, made in March 2020.

The budget of £38,716 million reported in these accounts is net of adjustments to reflect those activities not included in the accounting boundary as described above. This is made up of an operating budget of £36,797 million and a capital budget of £1,920 million.

The financial results for the year are reported in the attached accounts. They record a Net Resource Outturn of £37,695 million resulting in an overspend of £899 million. This is due to the recognition of £912 million COVID-19 business support grants in 2019-20 Note 15 to the accounts explains the recognition of this provision in respect of the support schemes announced by Scottish Ministers in March 2020 to commence from 1 April 2020 to ameliorate the adverse economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The appropriate budget cover for this expenditure was authorised in the Summer Budget Revision in May 2020 and the payments to businesses made during 2020-21,

Although these accounts report an overspend, there is no breach of Budget Act provision because, as noted above, the budget limit for the Scottish Administration as a whole has not been breached.

The Net Capital Outturn for the year was £1,690 million resulting in an underspend of £230 million. Total overspend of £669 million, adjusted to exclude the element relating to business support measures to an underspend of £242 million represents approximately 0.6 per cent of the total budget. An explanation of the major variances is included in these accounts in the portfolio outturn statements.

Under the current devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament is not allowed to overspend its budget. As a consequence, the Scottish Government consistently adopted a position of controlling public expenditure to ensure we live within the budget caps that apply, but remain able to carry forward some spending power resources for use in a future year.

The provisional outturn announcement made by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution in June 2020 indicated that the fiscal cash budget in 2019-20 would be underspent by £258 million. The announcement reported the position in terms of Scottish Government expenditure against totals as set by HM Treasury. The two sets of outturn information are not strictly comparable. The scope of what is included in these accounts is determined by the requirements of the Government’s Financial Reporting Manual (FReM) and covers elements that are not included in the HM Treasury figures.

Statement of Financial Position

The primary purpose of these accounts is to reflect the use of resources. The Statement of Financial Position reflects the assets held and liabilities arising from the spending plans which support policy choices. Assets are held not for their income generation capability or their inherent value but for their service potential or as a direct consequence of particular policies, for example providing healthcare in hospitals and the provision of funding to students in the form of loans. Similarly, liabilities arise as a consequence of the timing of commitments relating to spending and policy choices.

The Consolidated Statement of Financial Position, is one of the primary financial statements in the Consolidated Accounts. It summarises what is owned and owed by the Scottish Government. This shows taxpayers' equity – an accounting measurement of the amount invested by taxpayers that has continuing public benefit. It shows how much of this has arisen from the application of revenues (including the Scottish Block Grant) and that which has resulted through changes over time in the value of physical assets.

It is important to note that the consolidated accounts bring together the “balance sheets” of bodies that are significant in their own right. Detailed financial and narrative information on the major items, for example the road network, is available in the accounts and related reports of the relevant body - Transport Scotland; similarly, information about NHS bodies is in the detailed accounts for each body; the Student Awards Agency also provides separate reporting around student loans i.e. the loans are not within SAAS’ accounts but they do provide information about their administration, and the loans themselves are reported within these consolidated accounts.

The Statement of Financial Position includes:

  • items which are owned, have already been funded from revenues and will provide continuing economic benefit in future periods. These increase taxpayers' equity;
  • items which are owed and expected to require to be funded from future revenues. These decrease taxpayers' equity;
  • items owed to the Scottish Government; and
  • an analysis between amounts that will release or require funding within a year and those which will be carried into future years.

Assets and liabilities

Physical assets are the highest value group of assets in the Consolidated Accounts with a value of £30,699 million at 31 March 2020, of which 68 per cent (£20,852 million) relates specifically to the road network. The Consolidated Accounts provide details of changes in the year. There were additions of £518 million that resulted from capital investment, offset by disposals and the net effect of depreciation and revaluations.

Most physical assets are valued by professional valuers in line with recognised methodologies. This provides an assessment of the continuing benefit they provide in financial terms. Where these assets have been funded by traditional means through capital then there are no continuing liabilities relating to them (maintenance and repair costs will arise). Those funded through other means (such as Public Finance Initiatives, Non Profit Distributing Projects and Scottish Government borrowed funds) also lead to liabilities representing the amounts that will require to be met from future budgets. Only physical assets that are deemed surplus and 'held for sale' (£10 million) will release resources previously invested for future use.

Financial assets include loans made directly to other organisations and individuals, investment funds used to deliver development Programmes and investments in nationalised industries plus fully or part owned companies. These assets are of continuing benefit to the Scottish Government, and have the potential over time to release the resources currently invested for future use – including reinvestment, in accordance with the terms of the loan or other investment made.

Where Scottish Ministers decide to make investments directly through the Scottish Government, Accountable Officers must ensure that appropriate diligence and consideration is carried out before any commitment is made to invest in accordance with the detailed guidance in the Scottish Public Finance Manual[17], support specific economic objectives and are in line with the outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework.

Such investments are exceptional in nature and investment is in accordance with Scottish Ministers’ purpose of achieving a commercial outcome; this means that the investment should be able to demonstrate a potential return commensurate with the risk associated with the proposal.

For the purposes of assessing the valuation of such investment for accounting purposes, IFRS 9 applies an “expected credit loss model”. This is not a write-off of those investments or a prediction of loss but a measure of the risk in the investment which means that the assessment for accounts purposes has to take a prudent view of whether a positive outcome can yet be substantiated.

Burntisland Fabrications Limited (BiFab): In the 2018/19 financial year, the Scottish Government converted £37.4 million of loans previously advanced to BiFab on a commercial basis to equity in the company. As a result of the conversion of these loans, the Scottish Government now holds a 32.4% equity stake in BiFab. As part of the 2018/19 year-end process, the Scottish Government commissioned a formal valuation of its equity holding which resulted in a valuation of £2.0 million. This was reported in the Scottish Government’s 2018/19 consolidated accounts.

In the current financial year, the Scottish Government has advanced further loans on a commercial basis to BiFab totalling £9.0 million. Collectively, this financial support ensured that the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, Moray East Pin Piles and First E&P contracts were completed – creating over 1,000 jobs across the 3 yards at Arnish, Burntisland and Methil. However, the delays to the NnG contract award, the decision to award the Seagreen contract to overseas competitors, compounded by the majority shareholder’s continued lack of financial support for the business has greatly weakened Bifab’s cashflow and balance sheet. In light of the current position facing the company, and in consultation with commercial advisors, the Scottish Government has revalued its equity holding in BiFab to nil and has also written down the carrying value of the outstanding loan balances owed from BiFab to nil. Despite the current position, Scottish Ministers remain committed to working collaboratively with BiFab’s majority shareholder and board of directors, together with other stakeholders, in pursuit of a sustainable future for the sites at Arnish, Burntisland and Methil.

Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited: On 16 August 2019, Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow was placed in administration. In order to remove the threat of closure, the Scottish Government took control of the operations at the yard under a management agreement with the Administrators of the business. This intervention by Scottish Ministers ensured continuity of employment for the workforce and continued work on the vessels under construction during the period of Administration. On 2 December 2019, following a marketing process by the Administrators, the Scottish Government completed a commercial transaction to bring the shipyard into public ownership. The move to bring Ferguson Marine into public ownership demonstrates Scottish Ministers’ commitment to protecting the jobs at the Port Glasgow yard, delivering the two ferries under construction and securing a future for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Since the business was brought into public ownership, significant progress has been made on the vessels despite the Covid-19 pandemic leaving the yard either closed or on restricted working for nearly 6 months. The yard has done everything possible to limit the impact of this closure on the delivery of the two ferries under construction. Significant progress has been made in planning and design and, despite the pandemic, Glen Sannox entered dry dock on time on 10th August 2020. The delivery of Glen Sannox is now planned for a date in the range of April 2022 to June 2022. The delivery of 802 is now planned for December 2022 to February 2023.

Beyond the work on the vessels, there has been significant progress in building a more robust business at the yard. A new board of directors has been appointed and will provide the leadership required to take the yard into the future. The board members bring the diverse range of skills and experience needed to support the turnaround of the business and completion of the ferries.

Lochaber: In December 2016 the Scottish Government entered into a 25-year financial guarantee relating to the hydro plant and aluminium smelter at Lochaber. This involved guaranteeing the power purchase obligations of the smelter if the business does not fulfil its obligations to pay for contracted power. The guaranteed annual amounts vary between £14m and £32m over the life of the contract. The Scottish Government receives an annual fee in return for the guarantee. The carrying value of this financial asset in the accounts was reduced to nil as a result of the implementation of the new accounting standard.

The Consolidated Accounts show that the largest financial assets are voted loans of £3,340 million that have been made to Scottish Water, to finance its capital investment Programmes (with advances of £344 million in 19-20), and student loans valued at £3,710 million (an increase of £251 million from 31 March 2019). The latter are made under the terms of the student loans scheme, administered by the Student Loans Company Limited.

The Statement of Financial Position at 31 March 2020 includes provisions for future expenditure. The largest provisions relate to Business Support Measures put in place in response to COVID-19 and to Clinical Negligence Claims. In March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic the Scottish Government announced business support measures to be available from 1 April. As a result of this announcement taking place during the 2019-20 financial year a provision for £912 million was created in the accounts.

In line with usual practice, a Clinical Negligence Provision of £806 million (up from £618 million at 31 March 2019) was also included in the Statement of Financial Position

The total value of taxpayers’ equity, reported in the Statement of Financial Position, is £33,438 million at 31 March 2020, an increase of £151 million (0.45 per cent) from 31 March 2019.

The elements of the Statement of Financial Position are measured and disclosed in accordance with accounting standards and notes to the accounts provide analysis and explanation. More detailed information on the Statements of Financial Position of the individual entities included within these consolidated accounts can also be found in the entity’s published accounts by following the links provided above.


The SG consolidated accounts include as expenditure the employers’ contributions payable for the financial year. Staff in the Core Scottish Government, Executive Agencies and Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service are members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). There is no pension liability in respect of the PCSPS within the SG consolidated accounts, because it is a UK scheme, administered by the Cabinet Office and it is not possible to identify the “Scottish share” of the underlying assets and liabilities of the scheme. The Cabinet Office produces separate pension scheme accounts, covering all members across the UK.

Staff in the NHS consolidated bodies can choose between the PCSPS and the NHS Superannuation Scheme for Scotland, which is an unfunded statutory public service pension scheme with benefits underwritten by the UK Government. The NHS scheme is administered by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency and annual scheme accounts are produced.

The liabilities to be met over time are not met from investments but paid out each year from the funding of the relevant schemes. The NHS scheme is funded within the Scottish Administration in the Scottish Budget; the PCSPS is dealt with through the UK annual process.

Capital Borrowing

Under Section 32 of the Scotland Act 2012, as amended by Scotland Act 2016 Section 20, additional borrowing powers were conferred on Scottish Ministers with effect from 1 April 2015. Any sums borrowed and repaid under these provisions must do so via the Scottish Consolidated Fund and hence be reflected in those accounts. The first exercise of the borrowing powers took place in 2017-18 where £450 million (the maximum available) has been drawn down to the Scottish Consolidated Fund from the National Loans Fund. This was followed by borrowing of further £250 million in 2018-19 and £405 million in 2019-20.

The repayment of borrowing outstanding as at 31 March 2020 is scheduled as follows:

<1 year 51.9 12.5 64.5
1 – 5 years 229.2 44.4 273.6
>5 years 790.5 87.7 878.2
Total 1,071.6 144.6 1,216.3

An arrangement was agreed with HM Treasury for notional borrowing in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to meet the budget implications of the classification decision related to the introduction of The European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA10) which required the capital value of a small number of NPD projects to be budgeted for in the years of asset construction. This required the notional amounts borrowed to be recorded against the Scottish Government’s borrowing cap in each of these years, however no actual borrowing was undertaken.

Payment Policy

The Scottish Government policy requires that all suppliers’ invoices not in dispute are paid within the terms of the relevant contract. The Scottish Government aims to pay 100% of invoices, including disputed invoices once the dispute has been settled, on time in these terms.

The Scottish Government has a 10-day target for paying bills to businesses in Scotland. This aspiration is above and beyond our contractual commitment to pay suppliers within 30 days. Paying supplier bills within ten working days is seen as a key objective, and an important expression of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting business.

For financial year 2019-20, the Scottish Government, its Executive Agencies and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service made 98.7% of all payments within 10 days (2018-19: 99.0%). The specific payment performance of the individual bodies consolidated here will be reported separately within their individual accounts. The core Scottish Government made 99.1% of payments within 10 days (2018-19: 99.3%). The NHS bodies in Scotland made 84.3% of all payments within 10 days (2018-19: 82.6%).

The payment performance of the Scottish Government, its Executive Agencies and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for 2019-20 was 99.7% (2018-19: 99.7%) of all transactions settled within the terms of its contractual 30 day payment policy. The specific payment performance of the individual bodies consolidated here will be reported separately within their individual accounts. The core Scottish Government made 99.7% (2018-19: 99.7%) of all payments within the terms of its contractual 30 day payment policy. The NHS bodies in Scotland made 93.7% (2018-19: 92.5%) of all payments within the terms of their contractual 30 day payment policy.

Sustainability and Environmental Reporting

The Scottish Government recognises that it has a responsibility to achieve the best results in terms of meeting sustainability criteria, and has set ambitious targets for improving the environmental performance of our estate.

The Scottish Government has developed guidance for central government and the wider public sector on the preparation of sustainability reports to complement Annual Reports and Accounts. The guidance is intended to form a key element of a sustainability reporting framework for the Scottish public sector (referred to as the Scottish Sustainability Reporting Framework). The Framework will aim to inform best-practice across the public sector and demonstrate a coherent approach which meets statutory and non-statutory sustainability reporting requirements in the most cost effective and least burdensome manner to help drive improvements in sustainability performance.

The guidance relates specifically to information to be included in Scottish Public Sector Sustainability Reports[18] intended to complement Annual Reports and Accounts and expected to be consistent with the reporting requirements flowing from the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and the principles for sustainability reporting contained in HM Treasury guidance.

The Scottish Government’s current reporting on sustainability is focused on the environmental aspects of sustainability; it currently publishes an annual report[19] on environmental performance against a range of targets in respect of the core estate including emissions from energy use, waste arisings and recycling rates, transport & travel emissions, water consumption and biodiversity.

The Scottish Government annually publishes a Climate Change Duties report[20].

Leslie Evans
Principal Accountable Officer

11 December 2020



Back to top