GERS figures show nearly £100 billion spent in Scotland

Updated: Aug 19

The latest official Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures have revealed nearly £100 billion was spent on vital public services in Scotland during the Covid crisis.

That led to a huge deficit of £36 billion, or 22.4 per cent of GDP, compared to 14.2 per cent across the entire UK.


The figures demonstrate the strength of the UK and how all nations and regions are supported by the pooling and sharing of resources and risk.


The ‘UK dividend’ for Scotland was £2,210 per person.


The Scottish Government’s own figures for 2020/21 show:

  • Public spending in Scotland reached almost £100 billion in the last year as we saw additional investment made to get us through the initial stages of the Covid crisis.


  • Of the £99.2 billion spent (9.1% of the UK total spend), £62.8 billion was raised in Scotland, therefore there is a notional deficit of over £36 billion – more than double the annual cost of running the NHS. As a percentage of GDP that is 22.4%, much higher than 14.2% deficit we have across the UK. Last year Scotland's deficit was £15.8 billion (8.8% of GDP).


  • Living in the UK is worth on average £2,210 to each person in Scotland. That’s the combined value of higher spending and lower revenue in Scotland compared to the UK (also known as the UK Dividend). This has risen from last year’s £2,043.


  • Public expenditure per person in Scotland on public services was £1,828 higher than the UK average, while revenues were £382 lower than the UK average. Last year this was £1,753, whilst revenue was £290 lower.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:


“As part of the UK, an incredible £100billion has been spent to get us through the Covid crisis, protecting millions of jobs and livelihoods and delivering a successful vaccination programme.


“The UK’s system of pooling and sharing resources and risk, and the strength of our economy and our pound, ensured that no community was left behind.


“A separate Scotland may have been able to implement some support during a pandemic, but without the safety net of the reserves and international borrowing power that we have in the UK, it would have led to a higher cost for all of us - with inevitable tax increases and further public service cuts down the line.


“This was an exceptional period, but remember as part of the UK we can spend more on vital public services every single year.


“Last year, living in the UK was worth £2,210 on average to every person in Scotland.


“What is beyond doubt is that leaving the UK would lead to deep austerity with vastly reduced spending on hospitals and schools, and it’s time for some much-needed honesty about that from the SNP.


“Together across the UK we can use the strength of our collective economy and the pound to ensure that no community is left behind as we build a recovery for everyone.


“It is now the duty of the government to keep the focus firmly on recovery and not waste time on an unwanted divisive second referendum.”

See the official 2020-21 GERS figures here on the Scottish Government website.


The figures mentioned for 2019-20 have been revised since last years release.

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