by Kenneth Gibb and Linda Christie

Key Facts

  • Local Government's spending share of the Scottish public sector (2015-16 figures) was 32.2% or 36.0% if nationalised police and fire are added back in (Campbell, 2015).

  • Local government in Scotland has £39 billion in assets and £14.8 billion of debt (Mitchell, 2015).

  • For 2013-14, the Commission on Local Tax Reform (CLTR) estimated that Band H properties (which pay three times the tax of properties in Band A) were worth on average fifteen times more than those in B and A.

  • The average Band D council tax for 2013-14 was £1,149 and levels varied from £1,024 in the Western Isles (Eilean Siar) to £1,230 in Aberdeen city, though the distribution of payments is fairly compressed across the 32 authorities.

  • Three in five dwellings (2013) were in the bottom three council tax bands and just 13% were in the top three bands (and only 1% in the highest band).

  • A third of local government spending goes on education, just over a quarter on social work and 16% supports housing costs through housing benefit payments (CLTR final report).

  • The annual cost of the council tax freeze has risen from £70 million in 2008-09 to £630 million in 2016-17 (i.e. an extra £70 million per annum on top of the previous year's cost) - more than £3 billion cumulatively.

  • The central government share of local government funding has varied from 88.6% in 2010-11 to 82.8% in 2005-06; it was 83.3% in the most recent year for these figures (2013-14). The residual, largely council tax, is the local share and has varied from 11.4% in 2010-11 to 17.2% in 2005-06. In 2013-14 it was at 16.7%.

  • CLTR estimate that, if a revaluation took place, as many as 57% of properties would now be in the wrong Council Tax bands.

For the full chapter, please see: Gibb, K. & Christie, L. (2017) Local Government Finance. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge. Available via this link. 


Table 18.1: Local Council Tax Bands
- Data comes from CIPFA Scotland and the Scottish Government's website on Council Tax