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Includes data for police, fire and national park authorities for April 2019 to March 2020.

Main points


In 2019-20, total revenue expenditure by Welsh local authorities increased by 2.4% to £8.3 billion. This continues the broad picture seen since the economic downturn at the turn of the decade of reduced growth in expenditure. Revenue expenditure per head was £2,634 or £49 higher than the previous year.

Prior to the impact of the recession and the subsequent austerity measures, annual increases of 5% or 6% were regularly reported but since 2010-11 only two years have seen growth exceeding 2%.

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 66% of overall unitary authority expenditure compared with 59% in 2010-11 and 60% in 1999-2000.


Capital expenditure increased by 1.2% in 2019-20 to £1,246 million or £400 per head of population. This represents an increase of £15 million over the previous year.

In general, capital expenditure is more volatile and can be impacted heavily by large investments or adjustments. Expenditure increased in 2019-20 despite a large decrease in education, which represents 20% of capital expenditure. In contrast, since 2010-11 the share of capital expenditure spent on transport has fallen from 21% to 15%.

Most of this capital expenditure was spent by unitary authorities, with police fire and national park authorities reporting expenditure of £38 million, £13 million and £3 million respectively.


Local authority revenue and capital outturn expenditure, April 2019 to March 2020 , file type: PDF, file size: 538 KB

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Anthony Newby

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