Scottish local government finance statistics 2015-2016

Annual publication providing a comprehensive overview of Scottish local authority financial activity.

Executive Summary

Revenue Expenditure and Funding

Scottish local authorities reported an overall revenue surplus on the provision of services of £0.45 billion (2.7% of total revenue expenditure) at 31 st March 2016. Of this surplus, £0.34 billion was transferred to the Capital Fund to be used for Capital expenditure and £0.03 billion was transferred to other reserves (e.g. Insurance Fund), resulting in a £0.07 billion increase in revenue reserves.

Gross revenue expenditure on services was £15.33 billion in 2015-16 (up 0.7% on 2014-15). Of this, £0.66 billion (up 0.7% on 2014-15) of expenditure relates to the provision of housing through the Housing Revenue Account ( HRA) and £14.67 billion (up 0.7% on 2014-15) relates to the General Fund.

Net revenue expenditure on services was £10.10 billion in 2015-16 (up 0.7% on 2014-15). The highest spending service in the General Fund is education which had net expenditure of £4.74 billion (45% of General Fund net revenue expenditure). Social Work is the next largest service with net expenditure of £3.17 billion (30%).

Total Finance and investment expenditure (interest and debt repayments net of investment income) was £1.45 billion in 2015-16 (up 2.5% on 2014-15).

Total General Funding in 2015-16 was £12.00 billion. This is made up of Scottish Government General Revenue Grant £7.15 billion (60%), Non Domestic Rates £2.79 billion (23%), Council tax £2.05 billion (17%), and other funding of £0.001 billion (rounds to 0%).

Council Tax

  • The average Band D Council Tax in Scotland was £1,149 in 2015-16.
  • Council Tax income was £2.05 billion in 2015-16 (after Council Tax Reduction).

The total number of chargeable dwellings (i.e. the tax base) has increased slightly each year, rising from 2.39 million in September 2011 to 2.46 million in September 2016.

As a result of the Council Tax freeze, Council Tax levels have remained fixed since 2007-08 (except in Stirling where there was a slight drop in the Council Tax level in 2008-09 and 2012-13).

Non-domestic Rates

Non-domestic rates bills are calculated using the rateable value ( RV) of a non-domestic property, multiplied by the poundage rate (48.0p in 2015-16) plus any relevant supplements (such as Large Business Supplement), less any rates reliefs.

  • Non-domestic rate income collected increased from £2.511 billion in 2014-15 to £2.58 billion in 2015-16. This is due to the net effect of several factors such as the inflationary increase in the poundage rate, the impact of revaluation appeals, changes to rates relief schemes and other changes to the tax base (e.g. new or demolished properties).
  • Non-domestic rates reliefs provided relief of £0.63 billion in 2015-16, up from £0.61 billion in 2014-15. Increases in Small Business Bonus Scheme and Charity relief were the main factors which contributed to the increased total.
  • As at 1st April 2016, the non-domestic rate tax base comprised of 225,259 non-domestic properties on the Valuation Roll with a total rateable value of £6.796 billion.
  • The non-domestic rates 'Distributable Amount' was £2.79 billion in 2015-16.

Capital Expenditure

Total capital expenditure was £2.54 billion in 2015-16 (£0.64 billion in the HRA and £1.89 billion in the General Fund), compared to £2.40 billion in 2014-15 - an increase of 5.6% or £0.14 billion. The majority of capital expenditure went on new construction, conversions and enhancements to existing buildings, this category accounted for 83% of expenditure.

General Fund capital expenditure in 2015-16 was £1.89 billion (up 9.1% on 2014-15). The service with the highest capital expenditure was Education with £0.65 billion (34% of General Fund capital expenditure), which has increased by 17% since 2014-15. Roads and transport is the service area with the second highest capital expenditure with £0.43 billion (23% of General Fund capital expenditure), and is slightly down (-0.2%) on 2014-15.


On 1 April 2015 local authorities had total revenue reserves of £1.84 billion; over the course of the year this increased by £0.05 billion (2.6%) to stand at £1.89 billion on 31 st March 2016. Capital reserves increased by £0.10 billion (18.3%), from £0.53 billion at the 1 st April 2015 to £0.63 billion at the 31 st March 2016.


The total value of assets held by local authorities at 31 st March 2016 was £40.69 billion. This is an increase of 3.3% (£1.29 billion) since 31 st March 2015. The vast majority of the assets were operational assets (£39.12 billion, 96% of total assets), including £11.28 billion of council dwellings (28% of total assets) and £19.00 billion (47%) of other land and buildings.

Loans Fund Borrowing

The total value of Loans Fund advances outstanding at 31 st March 2016 was £13.41 billion (of which £10.05 billion was General Fund and £3.36 billion was HRA). General Fund Loans Fund advances outstanding increased by £0.09 billion (0.9%) between 31 st March 2015 and 31 st March 2016. HRA loans fund advances outstanding rose by £0.14 billion (4.5%) between 31 st March 2015 and 31 st March 2016.

At 31 st March 2016, the Scottish average General Fund loans fund advances outstanding was equal to £1,870 per person (up 0.4% on 31 st March 2015) and the average HRA loans fund advances outstanding was equal to £10,609 per HRA dwelling (up 4.6% on 31 st March 2015).

Local Government Pensions

Total Local Government Pension Scheme Fund income in 2015-16 was £1.94 billion. This is down 64% (£2.17 billion) on 2014-15 due to investment income which is highly volatile. Contributions from employees and employers total £1.24 billion, an increase of £0.02 billion or 4.7% on 2014-15.

Local Government Pension Fund Expenditure in 2015-16 was £1.24 billion, an increase of £0.05 billion or 4.6%. The majority (95%) of this expenditure is on benefits, of which £0.27 billion was on lump sum payments and £0.91 billion was on pensions.


Email: Euan Smith

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