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Local authority revenue and capital outturn expenditure

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  • Release date: 10 October 2018
  • Period covered: 2017-18
Includes data for police, fire and national park authorities.


In 2017-18, total gross revenue expenditure by Welsh local authorities increased by 1.3 per cent to £8.0 billion. Although this followed two previous years where expenditure fell, it continues the broad picture seen since the economic downturn at the turn of the decade of reduced growth in expenditure. Gross revenue expenditure per head was £2,560 or £24 higher than the previous year.

Prior to the impact of the recession and the subsequent austerity measures, annual increases of 5 per cent or 6 per cent were regularly reported but since 2010-11 in only one year has growth exceeded 2 per cent.

This has had a varying impact depending on the service areas, although changes in classification means analysis over time should be taken with caution. In general, statutory services such as education and social services have been protected (with social services having seen the biggest increase in expenditure) but other services such as libraries, local environmental services, roads and transport and planning have seen overall reductions since 2010-11. Education and social services now account for 62 per cent of overall unitary authority expenditure compared with 59 per cent in 2010-11 and 60 per cent in 1999-2000.


Capital expenditure increased by 5.5 per cent in 2017-18 to £1,174 million or £377 per head of population. This represents an increase of £61 million over the previous year.

In general, capital expenditure is more volatile and can be impacted heavily by large investments or adjustments. The increases in 2017-18 were largely due to further increases in capital expenditure in education, which now represents 37 per cent of capital expenditure. In contrast, since 2010-11 the share of capital expenditure spent on transport has fallen from 21 per cent to 12 per cent.

Most of this capital expenditure was spent by unitary authorities, with police fire and national park authorities reporting expenditure of £40 million, £12 million and £2 million respectively.


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