Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics 2020-21

March 22, 2022 9:30 a.m.

An official statistical publication for Scotland.

The Chief Statistician has released figures on local government finances in 2020-21. These figures provide a comprehensive overview of local government financial activity, including revenue, expenditure and revenue; capital expenditure and financing; reservations; debt; and pensions. As these figures cover the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, they will also reflect the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on local government finances in 2020-21.

Revenue expenditure is the cost of providing services each year. Local authority net tax expenditure in 2020-21 was £11,108m. Education and social work were the services with the highest net revenue expenditure, accounting for £5,520m and £3,528m respectively.

Capital expenditures are expenditures that create the buildings and infrastructure needed to provide services, such as schools and roads. Local authorities committed £2,604m of capital expenditure in 2020-21. This was mainly funded by grants and contributions of £1,322m and borrowings of £834m.

Usable reserves are local government revenue surpluses from previous years that can be used to finance future revenue or investment expenditure. As of March 31, 2021, local authorities held £3,924 million of usable reserves.

When local authorities borrow money or use credit agreements to finance capital expenditure, a debt is created which must be repaid from future revenues. In 2020-21 local authorities have repaid £629m and as of March 31, 2021 had a total debt of £19,723m.


The Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) 2020-21 are based on final, audited figures provided by local authorities.

Further information on statistical publications and data collections on local government finances can be found on the Scottish Government website.

These statistics have been produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

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