Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2019-20

Annual publication providing a comprehensive overview of financial activity of Scottish local authorities in 2019-20 based on authorities' audited accounts.

Key Facts

How much did local authorities spend on services in 2019-20?

Revenue expenditure is the cost of delivering services each year.

Gross service expenditure is total expenditure on services in year minus internal transfers.

Gross service income is total income authorities receive from services, such as service specific grants or income generated through fees, etc.

Net revenue expenditure is gross service expenditure minus gross service income. It reflects the amount of service expenditure to be funded by general funding or reserves.

Net Revenue Expenditure in 2019-20 by service, £ millions
Bar chart showing net revenue expenditure in 2019-20 by service in £ millions.
Gross Service Expenditure £20,108 million
- Gross Service Income - £9,031 million
Net Revenue Expenditure £11,077 million

How did local authorities fund services in 2019-20?

General funding is largely made up of the General Revenue Grant (GRG), Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) and Council Tax.

Local authorities use general funding to meet their net revenue expenditure on services and any other revenue expenditure that is not directly related to services, such as repayment of debt.

In 2019-20, local authorities' expenditure exceeded their general funding. This deficit had to be funded from local authorities' reserves.

General Funding in 2019-20 by source, £ millions
Bar chart showing General Funding in 2019-20 by source in £ millions.
Net Revenue Expenditure £11,077 million
+ Non-Service Expenditure + £1,666 million
- General Funding - £12,323 million
Deficit met from Reserves £420 million

What was the value of capital investment in 2019-20?

Capital expenditure is expenditure that creates the buildings and infrastructure necessary to provide services, such as schools, flood defence, roads and vehicles.

Capital expenditure also includes capital grants or loans to third parties funded from borrowing.

Capital expenditure in 2019-20 by service, £ millions
Treemap showing capital expenditure in 2019-20 by service in £ millions.

Note: 'Other' includes Social Work, Central Services and Training Services

Total Capital Expenditure = £3,794 million

How did local authorities finance the £3,794 million of capital expenditure incurred in 2019-20?

Local authorities can finance their total capital expenditure in a number of ways. The main sources of financing are:

  • Grants & contributions, including those from the Scottish Government;
  • Borrowing or entering into credit arrangements, such as a finance lease or service concession arrangement;
  • Using revenue reserves.
Financing of Capital Expenditure in 2019-20 by source, £ millions
Treemap showing financing of capital expenditure in 2019-20 by source in £ millions.

Note: A = Capital Fund & Capital Receipts

What reserves did local authorities have at 31 March 2020?

Usable reserves are local authorities' surplus income from previous years. This can be used to finance future revenue or capital expenditure.

The General Fund is the main usable revenue reserve, although there are other reserves that authorities may be able to use.

There are also two usable capital reserves.

Usable Reserves at 31 March 2020, £ millions
Treemap showing usable reserves at 31 March 2020 in £ millions.

Note: A = Other Statutory Funds, £13m

Total Usable Reserves = £2,708 million

What debt did local authorities have at 31 March 2020?

When a local authority borrows money or uses a credit arrangement to finance capital expenditure, a debt is created.

Local authorities have to repay this debt from future revenues.

In 2019-20, local authorities repaid £624 million of debt.

Total Debt at 31 March from 2015-16 to 2019-20, £ millions
Line chart showing total debt at 31 March from 2015-16 to 2019-20 in £ millions.

Total Debt in 2019-20 = £19,274 million

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