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Public spending

The UK’s public spending works fairly for Scotland and allows the whole country to pool and share its resources.

How are tax revenues distributed in Scotland?

Tax revenue generated in Scotland amounts to about £66 billion, including North Sea oil revenue, but it benefits from about £81 billion in public spending.  That means Scotland benefits from £15 billion more than it puts in.

This is possible because the UK pools and shares resources across the entire country. This system of sharing resources means Scotland is well-placed to tackle the problems of the future, such as an ageing society, but also gives the Scottish Parliament the freedom to make many financial decisions for itself.

More information on Scotland’s tax revenue - external link

How are funding decisions split between the UK and Scottish governments?

Scotland has two governments that are both responsible for different things. For example, foreign policy and international relations are reserved to the UK Government, but health and social services are devolved to the Scottish Government.

When the UK Government increases funding for an area which is devolved, the Scottish Government receives extra funding too. For example, if the NHS in England gets a funding boost, the Scottish Government will also receive extra cash.

In 2020 the UK Government guaranteed £8.2 billion of additional funding to help the Scottish Government to respond to coronavirus.

Read more about devolution - external link

What powers do the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament have over public spending and tax?

The Scottish Parliament retains power over many financial decisions, including setting the rate of income tax, and how much is spent on important public services like health and education.

When the UK Government increases funding in a devolved area, the decision on how the additional funding is spent in Scotland is made by the Scottish Government.

Find out what taxes are devolved - external link

More Information

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre contains more information about Scotland’s economy and finance.

The Scottish Government publishes an annual report on Scotland’s finances called ‘Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland‘.

Find out about public sector revenue and expenditure across the UK.