Revenue Expenditure and Funding
Scottish local authorities reported an overall revenue surplus of £69.4 million (0.46% of gross revenue expenditure) at 31st March 2015, compared with an overall deficit of £54.8 million at 31st March 2014. Of this surplus, £52.3 million (0.36% of General Fund gross expenditure) was in the General Fund and £17.1 million (2.61% of HRA gross expenditure) was in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
Gross revenue expenditure on services was £15.2 billion in 2014-15 (up 1.3% on 2013-14). Of this, £0.66 billion (up 1.9% on 2013-14) of expenditure relates to the provision of housing through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and £14.57 billion (up 1.3% on 2013-14) relates to the General Fund.
Net revenue expenditure on services was £10.04 billion in 2014-15 (up 0.8% on 2013-14). The highest spending service in the General Fund is education which had net expenditure of £4.6 billion (44% of General Fund net revenue expenditure). Social Work is the next largest service with net expenditure of £3.1 billion (30%).
Total Finance costs (interest payments net of investment income) was £0.76 billion in 2014-15 (up 5.7% on 2013-14). Total statutory adjustments (which includes Revenue Contributions to Capital and statutory repayment of debt) was down 3.8% to £1.09 billion in 2014-15.
Total General Funding in 2014-15 was £11.92 billion. This is made up of Scottish Government General Revenue Grant £7.17 billion (60%), Non Domestic Rates Distributable Amount £2.65 billion (22%), Council tax £2.02 billion (17%), and other funding of £0.08 billion (1%).
- The average Band D Council Tax in Scotland was £1,149 in 2014-15.
- Council Tax income was £2.022 billion in 2014-15 (after Council Tax Reduction).
The total number of chargeable dwellings (i.e. the tax base) has increased slightly each year, rising from 2.377 million in September 2010 to 2.441 million in September 2015.
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 bills are calculated using the rateable value (RV) of a non-domestic property, multiplied by the poundage rate (47.1p in 2014-15) plus any relevant supplements (such as Large Business Supplement), less any rates reliefs.
- Non-domestic rate income collected increased from £2.367 billion in 2013-14 to £2.511 billion in 2014-15. 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 £0.607 billion in 2014-15, up from £0.590 billion in 2013-14. Increases in Small Business Bonus Scheme and Charity relief were the main factors which contributed to the increased total.
- As at 1st April 2015, the non-domestic rate tax base comprised of 223,046 non-domestic properties on the Valuation Roll with a total rateable value of £6.719 billion.
- The non-domestic rates 'Distributable Amount' was £2.650 billion in 2014-15.
Total capital expenditure was £2.40 billion in 2014-15 (£0.67 billion in the HRA and £1.73 billion in the General Fund), compared to £2.46 billion in 2013-14 - a fall of 2.5% or £0.06 billion. The majority of capital expenditure went on new construction, conversions and enhancements to existing buildings, this category accounted for around 80% of expenditure.
General Fund capital expenditure in 2014-15 was £1.73 billion (down 5.8% on 2013-14). The service with the highest capital expenditure was Education with £0.56 billion (32% of General Fund capital expenditure), which has increased by 7% since 2013-14. Roads and transport is the service area with the second highest capital expenditure with £0.43 billion (25% of General Fund capital expenditure), which is 6% lower than in 2013-14.
On 1 April 2014 local authorities had total revenue reserves of £1.81 billion; over the course of the year this increased by £0.07 billion (3.6%) to stand at £1.88 billion on 31st March 2015. Capital reserves increased by £0.01 billion (1.9%), from £0.56 billion to £0.57 billion.
The total value of assets held by local authorities at 31st March 2015 was £39.4 billion. This is an increase of 1.4% (£0.05 billion) since 31st March 2014. The vast majority of the assets were operational assets (£38.0 billion, 96% of total assets), including £10.5 billion of council dwellings (27% of total assets) and £18.9 billion (48%) of other land and buildings.
Loans Fund Borrowing
The all Scotland value of Loans Fund advances outstanding at 31st March 2015 was £13.18 billion (of which £9.96 billion was General Fund and £3.22 billion was HRA). General Fund Loans Fund advances outstanding increased by £26.1 million (0.3%) between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015. HRA loans fund advances outstanding rose by £195 million (6.5%) between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015.
At 31st March 2015, the Scottish average General Fund loans fund advances outstanding was equal to £1,862 per person (down 0.1% on 31st March 2014) and the average HRA loans fund advances outstanding was equal to £10,138 per HRA dwelling (up 6.3% on 31st March 2014).
Local Government Pensions
Total Local Government Pension Scheme Fund income in 2014-15 was £5.4 billion. This is up 67% (£2.2 billion) on 2013-14, due to high investment income which can be highly variable. Contributions from employees and employers total £1.2 billion, an increase of £0.022 billion or 1.9% on 2013-14.
Local Government Pension Fund Expenditure in 2014-15 was £1.18 billion, an increase of £0.053 billion or 4.7%. The majority (94%) of this expenditure is on benefits, of which £0.239 billion was on lump sum payments and £0.877 billion was on pensions.
Email: Euan Smith