1. Introduction

Local authorities are responsible for delivering a wide range of services, including education, social work, transport, housing, environmental services and cultural services. In Scotland, local government primarily comprises of 32 councils, the boundaries of which are shown in Annex A. There are also:

  • ten Valuation Joint Boards (VJBs), who provide valuation services to councils. Primarily, VJBs maintain the valuation roll for non-domestic properties and the Council Tax valuation list for domestic dwellings. These are then used as the basis for local taxation billing liability.
  • seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs), which were established by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005 to lead on regional transport strategy and delivery.
  • the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board, which is responsible for the operation, management and maintenance of the Tay Road Bridge.

Most of these additional boards are the collective responsibility of two or more councils – a list of local authority joint board membership is provided at Annex B. The Tay Road Bridge Joint Board comprises councillors from Dundee City, Fife and Angus, however finance is provided directly from the Scottish Government.

This publication provides a comprehensive overview of the financial activity across the 50 local authorities described above. It covers revenue expenditure and income, including local taxation; capital expenditure and financing; reserves and fixed assets; debt and prudential indicators; and pensions.

Expenditure and income figures are presented on a funding basis in this publication. This means local authorities have made adjustments to remove certain accounting transactions that have been charged to services, such as depreciation and pension costs. Local authorities will consider funding basis figures when making financial decisions, such as setting budgets or increases in Council Tax.

Please note, throughout the publication:

  • all years refer to the relevant financial year, for example 2019-20 refers to activity from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020;
  • figures within tables / charts may not sum to the total exactly due to rounding;
  • absolute zeroes are presented as a '–'; figures which round to zero are presented as '0'.
  • all figures are presented in cash terms: this means they have not been adjusted for inflation;
  • expenditure and income figures are presented as positive figures, however net expenditure figures may be presented as negative where gross income has exceeded gross expenditure and so the net position relates to income.

Figures included in this publication for years prior to 2019-20 have been revised where necessary to ensure comparability to 2019-20 data or to correct any minor errors identified since the last publication. This means that figures may not match to those previously published. Please note that this publication will only be updated to reflect revisions which have a significant impact on the key figures or commentary. Minor revisions to source data files made after publication that have no material impact on the Scotland figures or key messages will not be made to this publication, but will be reflected in the 2020-21 SLGFS publication.

Under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014, 30 Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) have been established in Scotland. IJBs are responsible for the planning of integrated arrangements and onward service delivery of health and social care for their constituent councils and health boards. This publication only includes expenditure that is recognised in council's financial data, that is:

  • local authorities' transfer payments to IJBs, with the total payment amount in year recorded as gross service expenditure against Social Work services;
  • income local authorities receive from IJBs to commission services, recorded as gross service income against the relevant service;
  • the expenditure that local authorities incur to commission those services, recorded as gross service expenditure against the relevant service.

Local authorities are also required to undertake community planning in partnership with other agencies responsible for public service delivery in an area, such as Health Boards, and Police and Fire bodies. However, the financial activity of these other agencies is not included in this publication.

More information on this publication, including associated data available for download, can be found at www.gov.scot/collections/local-government-finance-statistics/#scottishlocalgovernmentfinancialstatistics.

More information on local government in Scotland is available at www.gov.scot/policies/local-government/.


Contact

Email: lgfstats@gov.scot