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 is primarily comprised 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), established to lead on regional transport strategy and delivery by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005.
- 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. Where appropriate, comparisons to 2019-20 and time series over the last five years have been included to provide broader context to the figures in this publication.
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 running 1 April to 31 March;
- figures within tables / charts may not sum to the total exactly due to rounding;
- absolute zeroes are shown as '–' and rounded zeroes are shown 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;
- General Fund figures include amounts relating to the Harbour Accounts for Orkney and Shetland Island Councils unless otherwise stated;
- gross revenue figures have been adjusted for inter-authority transfers;
- ‘Roads & Transport’ includes amounts relating to Road Bridges.
Local authorities were asked to record expenditure incurred in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as any service specific Covid-19 grants used, against the relevant subservice as far as possible. Where there was no appropriate existing subservice, for example activities relating to supporting individuals to shield or Test & Protect, the expenditure was recorded against Central Services: Other. Covid-19 related income received via GRG is included in the GRG income figure.
In 2020-21, local authorities administered a number of Covid-19 grants on behalf of the Scottish Government. In accordance with LASAAC Guidance on Accounting for Coronavirus Grants, where local authorities’ are acting as an intermediary in administering the receipt and payment process to the ultimate recipients of the funding, they are considered to be acting as agent on behalf of the Scottish Government and so the local authority should not recognise the transactions as income or expenditure to the authority itself. This means the income and expenditure associated with these grants is not included in any of the figures in this publication. However, data on the amount of agency grants paid out in 2020-21 was collected as part of the 2020-21 LFR and is available in the published LFR AG workbook.
Figures included in this publication for years prior to 2020-21 have been revised where necessary to ensure comparability to 2020-21 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 2021-22 Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (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 councils’ 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, and on local government in Scotland is available on the Scottish Government website.
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