Scottish Government
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Nearly £50 billion invested in government priorities

Funding to support the NHS, reduce carbon emissions and help tackle poverty.

Almost £50 billion was spent by the Scottish Government last year on public services to help tackle child poverty, reduce carbon emissions, support the NHS and secure pay deals, according to newly published official figures.

The Provisional Outturn, which compares actual spending with the funding commitments set out in the Budget, shows that the Scottish Government spent £49.3 billion in the 2023-24 financial year. There was £292 million remaining – representing 0.6% of the Scottish Government’s total budget – all of which has been carried over through the Scotland Reserve to be directed towards priority areas in 2024-25.

In 2023-24 the Scottish Government:

  • spent nearly £5.2 billion on social security benefits. This includes £429 million on Scottish Child Payment, alongside funding to introduce Carer Support Payment in pilot areas, ahead of full roll-out in 2024, and to widen eligibility for Best Start Foods
  • invested more than £19 billion in health and social care, supporting recovery and reform to secure sustainable public services, while delivering a pay uplift for NHS staff
  • provided nearly £220 million to the Heat in Buildings Programme to help deliver greener and more energy efficient homes
  • continued providing Just Transition Fund grant funding, including £16.8 million for projects in the North-east and Moray regions, in addition to £3 million to help vulnerable global communities address loss and damage brought on by climate change
  • invested almost £422 million on bus services and concessionary fares, providing up to 2.3 million people in Scotland with access to free bus travel.

Public Finance Minister Ivan McKee said:

“These figures show once again how this government is prudently and competently managing the public finances while delivering funding for the things that matter to people across Scotland, not least the NHS and action to tackle child poverty.

“The Scottish Government has consistently balanced its budgets each and every year. This represented a significant challenge last year, as the continued impact of persistently high inflation, pressure on public sector pay, backlogs as a result of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine combined to place pressure on the public finances.

“We are not allowed to overspend, so must leave ourselves with the headroom to manage any unexpected shocks or issues. The remaining funding has been allocated in full in 2024-25, allowing us to implement measures at the most optimal time rather than being constrained to a single financial year.” 


Provisional Outturn 2023-24: Ministerial speech

The Provisional Outturn figures will be finalised later in the year once the Scottish Government and other devolved public bodies complete their year-end audits.

The remaining budget of £292 million is made up of £162 million resource and £130 million capital.

The figures also show a £1.1 billion non-cash underspend. The non-cash element of the Scottish Budget is ringfenced for use in technical accounting adjustments, and it is therefore not possible for the Scottish Government to use it for day-to-day spending. A large proportion, circa £0.9 billion, of this budget relates to non-cash consequentials for student loan impairments which are not required at the same level in Scotland because of the policy of free university tuition.

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