ONS publishes public sector revenues for the countries and regions of the UK

The ONS has published some experimental statistics detailing public sector revenue and expenditure for the countries and regions of the UK.

The data finds that in 2015/16 Scotland raised the fourth most (£10,230) in public sector revenue per person out of the UK’s 12 NUTS 1 statistical regions, and received the second most (£13,054) in terms of public sector expenditure. This resulted in a deficit of £2,824 per person.

Scotland’s deficit was the fifth biggest in the UK, behind Northern Ireland (£5,437), Wales (£4,545), and North East (£3,827) and North West (£3,043) England. Only the East of England, the South East, and London had a surplus.

We’ve created three graphs based on the data. You can explore all the data here.

Source: ONS—Country and regional public sector finances: Financial year ending March 2016, Table 3 (.xls).

Source: ONS—Country and regional public sector finances: Financial year ending March 2016, Table 5 (.xls).

Source: ONS—Country and regional public sector finances: Financial year ending March 2016, Tables 3 and 5.


To put the UK in context, the below chart from Eurostat shows just how big the disparity in GDP per capita is between London and the national average when compared with other EU countries.

(We’re not sure why the UK is the only country with two blue circles for ‘Capital region’. We’ve asked Eurostat about this and will update the page when they get back to us.) Update—Eurostat has informed us that the lower blue dot in the UK column is a visualisation error and in fact belongs to ‘Other NUTS regions’.

Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) in relation to the EU-28 average, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014 (% of the EU-28 average, EU-28 = 100)
Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) in relation to the EU-28 average, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014 (% of the EU-28 average, EU-28 = 100). Source: Eurostat—Image, originating page.

One thought on “ONS publishes public sector revenues for the countries and regions of the UK”

  1. It’s helpful to read the notes (copied below) which indicate to this layman that these statistics are not robust or accurate.

    The data in this bulletin are to be considered statistical estimates only. The statistics in this publication are neither reflective of the annual devolved budget settlements nor are these data used when calculating devolved budget settlements. Furthermore, they are unlikely to be an accurate representation of public finances should fiscal powers be fully devolved among UK countries and regions.

    How are the country and regional estimates calculated?
    The total UK public sector revenue and expenditure reported in this publication are the same as those in the Public Sector Finances published on 23 May 2017. However, the country and regional allocation of revenue and expenditure data in this publication are largely based on various assumptions. This is because taxes are generally not levied or collected on a regional basis and most spending is planned to benefit a category of individuals and enterprises irrespective of location.

    Estimates of public sector revenue are based on the concept of “who pays”. Revenue is attributed to the countries and regions of the UK using apportionment methods, such as the use of surveys, population shares and GVA (gross value added) shares.

    Estimates of public sector expenditure are based on the concept of “who benefits”. Expenditure in each of the countries and regions of the UK is calculated using methods which attempt to apportion expenditure based on the location of the residents or enterprises who have benefited from expenditure of a particular department or body.

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