Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2020-21

Annual publication providing a comprehensive overview of financial activity of Scottish local authorities in 2020-21 based on authorities' audited accounts.

This document is part of a collection

Key Facts

How much did local authorities spend on services in 2020-21?

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 2020-21 by service, £ millions
Gross Service Expenditure £20,394 million
- Gross Service Income - £9,286 million
Net Revenue Expenditure £11,108 million

How did local authorities fund services in 2020-21?

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 2020-21, local authorities’ expenditure was less than their general funding. This surplus was added to local authorities’ reserves.

General Funding in 2020-21 by source, £ millions
General Funding £13,834 million
- Net Revenue Expenditure - £11,108 million
- Non-Service Expenditure - £1,560 million
Deficit met from Reserves £1,166 million

What was the value of capital investment in 2020-21?

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 2020-21 by service, £ millions

Please note that 'Other' includes Social Work, Central Services and Trading Services.

Total Capital Expenditure = £2,604 million

How did local authorities finance the £2,604 million of capital expenditure incurred in 2020-21?

Local authorities can finance capital expenditure in a number of ways. The main sources of financing in 2020-21 were:

  • Grants & contributions, including those from the Scottish Government;
  • Borrowing; and
  • Use of revenue reserves.
Financing of Capital Expenditure in 2020-21 by source, £ millions

What reserves did local authorities have at 31 March 2021?

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 2021, £ millions

Total Usable Reserves = £3,924 million

What debt did local authorities have at 31 March 2021?

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 2020-21, local authorities repaid £629 million of debt.

Total Debt at 31 March from 2016-17 to 2020-21, £ millions

Total Debt at 31 March 2021 = £19,723 million

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