England & Wales, Scotland Finance

The state of local government finance in Scotland


At the LGIU, we hear increasing warnings from our members across Scotland of worrying trends in council finances. The sector has been struggling for years in the face of ever-increasing service and workforce pressures, the shock of the pandemic and a financial model which fails to provide enough funding for councils or enough flexibility for them to make up the difference.

This report, from the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre, explores the financial pressure that councils are facing from the perspective of those responsible for council finances. It is the result of a survey sent to council leaders, chief executives and directors of finance in the 32 Scottish local authorities. The responses we received cover more than 75% of those local authorities.

LGIU has run a state of local government finance survey in England for the past decade and replicating it in Scotland has allowed us to look behind the headline figures for Scottish authorities to the opinions of those who have to find ways to keep councils afloat and deliver essential services under increasingly difficult circumstances. On top of this, we can use the results in Scotland and England as points of comparison drawing out lessons on how local government can be improved and continue to deliver services to those who need them.

The state of local government finance in Scotland – download the report.