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.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.