Government spending in the United Kingdom

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Pie chart of UK central government expenditure, 2009-10. Debt interest is shown in purple. Social protection includes Pensions and Welfare.

Central government spending in the United Kingdom, also called public expenditure, is the responsibility of the UK government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Spending per head is significantly higher in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland than it is in England.[1] In the case of Scotland, however, although public spending is greater than the United Kingdom average, this is because Scotland produces more tax than people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.[2] (This link does not work) Indeed, Scotland has produced more tax per head than any other UK nation in every single year dating back to 1980 due to oil revenues. As of 2014 and the release of the GERS report, Scotland was in relative deficit compared to the rest of the UK and received a net subsidy from the UK government, this deficit was attributed to declining oil revenues. This condition is predicted to only get worse as oil revenues fall further.[3]

The graph shows spending by sector with prices adjusted for inflation. The Other Expenditure includes Public order and safety (£30B in 2013/14), general public services (£22B), Housing and community amenities (£12B), Environment protection (£12B), Recreation, culture and religion (£12B). Accounting adjustments of £46 in 2013/14 have not been included. The spikes in Economic Affairs and debt interest were due to affected by financial sector interventions.[4]

Local government spending[edit]

Local government spending is the responsibility of local authorities, under the supervision of the respective national governments:

Spending by subnational authorities amounted to 26% of total public expenditure in 2010.[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Daily Telegraph (30 August 2011). "Government spending gap between England and Scotland widens". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Scottish Government. "Scotland generates more in tax than rest of the UK". Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ HM Treasury (30 April 2015). "Public Spending Statistics release: April 2015". Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  5. ^