Scots councils spend £11bn as debt tops £19bn

The net revenue expenditure of Scotland’s councils was £11.108 billion in 2020-21, according to a report from the Chief Statistician.

Revenue expenditure is the cost of delivering services each year.

Education and social work were the services with highest net revenue expenditure, accounting for £5.520 billion and £3.528 billion respectively.

In 2020-21, Scottish local authorities made debt repayments of £629 million and at March 31, 2021, they had a total debt of £19.723 billion.

The report said that in capital expenditure — spending on the buildings and infrastructure necessary to provide services — local authorities incurred £2.604 billion of spending in 2020-21.

This capital expenditure was predominantly financed by grants and contributions of £1.322 billion and borrowing of £834 million.

At March 31, 2021, local authorities held £3.924 billion of usable reserves.

Usable reserves are local authorities’ surplus income from previous years which can be used to finance future revenue or capital expenditure.