Scottish Local Authority Debt Rises To Almost £22bn

Scotland’s local authorities made debt repayments of £53 million in 2022-23 and had total debt of £21.8 billion at March 31, 2023.

That’s according to figures on Scottish local government finance in 2022-23 from Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

The councils’ debt had been £20.5 billion at March 31, 2022.

“These figures provide a comprehensive overview of the financial activity of local government, including revenue expenditure and income; capital expenditure and financing; reserves; debt; and pensions,” said the Scottish Government.

Local authorities’ net revenue expenditure in 2022-23 was £12.951 billion. Education and Social Work were the services with highest net revenue expenditure, accounting for £6.472 billion and £4.291 billion respectively.

Revenue expenditure is the cost of delivering services each year.

Local authorities incurred £3.786 billion of capital expenditure in 2022-23. This was predominantly financed by grants and contributions of £1.617 billion and borrowing of £1.533 billion.

Capital expenditure is expenditure that creates the buildings and infrastructure necessary to provide services, such as schools and roads.

Scottish local authorities held £4.532 billion of usable reserves at March 31, 2023.

“Usable reserves are local authorities’ surplus income from previous years which can be used to finance future revenue or capital expenditure,” said the Scottish Government.