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Public spending statistics: May 2022

About this release

Public spending outturn data for the years 2016-17 to 2020-21 were first released in July 2021. This release includes any updated data for those years including from departments who have only recently published 2020-21 resource accounts delayed due to Covid-19. It incorporates changes made to central and local government expenditure data as well as revised public spending aggregates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Revisions since the last release are set out in Section 8 below. All data in this release are National Statistics and are on an outturn basis. TME figures are consistent with data published by the ONS published in April 2022. All data and further background detail can be found in the accompanying tables published alongside this release. We welcome any feedback at

Total expenditure (£billion)

Expenditure 2019-20 2020-21
Total OF THE expenditure 415.7 566.2
Departmental Resource AME 375.0 489.8

Budgets are divided into Departmental Expenditure Limits (OF THE), which are firm plans for three or four years, and Annually Managed Expenditure (AME), covering spending which is demand-led, less predictable and more difficult to control. In the accompanying excel tables, table 1 shows the aggregate position for all departments and all types of spending, with some of the main types of spending shown separately. Table 8 shows in detail how the budgeting data is used to construct the Total Managed Expenditure (TME) figures published by the Office for National Statistics. These are based on National Accounts concepts and are used in the aggregates which underlie the government’s fiscal policy.

Expenditure 2019-20 2020-21
Total Managed Expenditure (TME) 884.2 1,111.9
Total expenditure on services (TES) 796.9 1,011.0
  • TME was £1,111.9 billion in 2020-21, an increase of 25.8 per cent on the previous year.

  • TES was £1,011.0 billion in 2020-21, an increase of 26.9 per cent on the previous year.

Total Departmental Expenditure Limits, 2020-21 (£millions)

For the full table, including years from 2016-17 onward, please refer to Table 7 in the accompanying budget tables excel.

Departmental Group Total DEL
Health and Social Care 192,951
Education 72,974
home-office 15,352
Justice 9,899
Law Officers’ Departments 619
Defense 42,355
Single Intelligence Account 2,848
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 12,591
MHCLG – Housing and Communities 11,815
MHCLG – Local Government 20,907
Transportation 33,392
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 42,676
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 3,887
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 5,309
International Trade 527
Work and Pensions 6,944
HM Revenue and Customs 5,043
HM Treasury 323
Cabinet Office 1,741
Scotland 44,083
wales 20,863
Northern Ireland 16,601
Small and Independent Bodies 2,454

In September 2021 the government announced that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would be renamed the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The department name MHCLG is used in these tables to align with the PESA 2021 publication.

Budgeting Statistics (Tables 1 to 9)

  • Total OF THE expenditure (Resource OF THE excluding depreciation plus capital OF THE) was £566.2 billion in 2020-21, an increase of £150.5 billion or 36.2 per cent on the previous year in nominal terms. The largest increases in OF THE spending in nominal terms in 2020-21 were for Health and Social Care, which increased by £52.5 billion to £193.0 billion, and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which was up by £28.9 billion to £42.7 billion. These increases are both largely a result of expenditure related to Covid-19 measures.

  • Total departmental expenditure OF THE plus resource and departmental capital AME) was £1,092.4 billion in 2020-21, an increase of £278.7 billion or 34.3 per cent on the previous year.

  • Departmental Resource AME was £489.8 billion in 2020-21, an increase from £375.0 billion in 2019-20. This is mainly reflects Covid-19 related expenditure within HM Revenue and Customs.

In the accompanying excel tables, tables 1 to 9 show central government departmental spending on a budgetary basis. These are the aggregates used by the government to plan and control expenditure. They cover departments’ own spending as well as support to local government and public corporations. They are consistent with “Estimates” voted by Parliament and broadly consistent with departmental Resource Accounts, which are based on commercial International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adapted for the public sector.

Real terms public expenditure (£billion)

functions 2019-20 2020-21
General public services 83.6 71.7
Defense 44.6 44.6
public order and safety 36.5 39.1
business affairs 70.4 196.4
Environment protection 12.5 13.0
Housing and community amenities 15.0 13.6
Health 173.4 218.6
Recreation, culture and religion 12.6 13.0
Education 95.7 95.6
social protection 291.4 299.6

In the accompanying excel tables, tables 10 to 11 present spending under the “expenditure on services” framework. This is based on National Accounts definitions and covers the whole of the public sector. It therefore has wider coverage than the budgeting framework and is also more stable over time.

Compared with the previous year:

  • in real terms, spending in six of the ten functions (excluding EU transactions) for 2020-21 increased spending whilst in four functions fell, compared to 2019-20.

  • the largest real terms percentage increases were in economic affairs (178.8 per cent), mainly as a result of Covid related spend (see sub-functional analysis below for more detail) and in health (26.0 per cent).

  • the largest real terms percentage decreases in spending were in general public services (-14.2 per cent), mainly due to lower expenditure on public sector debt interest, and in housing and community amenities (-9.1 per cent)

  • spending on health shows a nominal and real terms increase in 2020-21 (33.2 per cent in nominal terms, 26.0 per cent in real terms).

In the accompanying excel tables, tables 10, 10a and 10b show public sector expenditure on services broken down by function over a longer number of years, allowing long-term trends to be identified. Table 11 presents data broken down by economic categories such as pay or grants.

National Statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs

  • are well explained and readily accessible

  • are produced according to sound methods

  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Spending frameworks used in HM Treasury spending publications

budgeting Expenditure on services (TES)
This framework provides information on central government departmental budgets, which are the aggregates used by the government to plan and control expenditure. It covers departmental own spending as well as support to local government and public corporations. This framework is used in HM Treasury publications for statistical analysis. It is based on National Accounts definitions and covers spending by the whole of the public sector. It therefore has wider coverage than the budgeting framework and is also more stable over time.
  • TME as a percentage of GDP, which shows the size of the public sector relative to the size of the whole economy, was 51.9 per cent in 2020-21. This is the highest in the period covered by these tables (from 1997-98), reflecting not only increased spending, but also lower GDP as the economy entered recession during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Line graph showing trends in public spending in real terms according to the UN-defined Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) framework.

From 2011-12 onwards the ‘grant-equivalent element of student loans’ is no longer part of the TES framework and has therefore been removed from the Education function. Therefore, figures are not directly comparable between 2010-11 and 2011-12. A full explanation of this decision can be found in PESA 2020 Annex E.

In real terms (ie after adjusting for the effect of inflation):

  • the largest real terms spending increase by function in 2020-21 was in economic affairs, which rose by £126.0 billion to a total of £196.4 billion (an increase of 178.8 per cent). This was largely driven by an increase in enterprise and economic development, which included HM Revenue and Customs expenditure on the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes and spend by BEIS on business support grants and business interruption loan schemes.

  • health saw the second largest real terms increase in 2020-21 of £45.2 billion. This was largely driven by large increases in the purchase of goods and services, staff costs, and Covid-19 related expenditure.

  • social protection saw the third largest real terms increase in 2020-21 of £8.2 billion (an increase of 2.8 per cent). This was largely due to increases in expenditure in local government, Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

Revisions in this release (since the February 2022 publication)

Expenditure Amount (£millions) Comments
Total OF THE expenditure -£2,819m Resource and Capital OF THE (excluding depreciation) has been revised down in 2020-21. The decrease was largely driven by a downward trend made by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Other adjustments included revisions for the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Departmental Resource AME -1,103m Driven mainly by downward revisions for the Ministry of Justice, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Additional information about the PSS release

Upcoming revisions and changes in forthcoming releases

The next HM Treasury PSS National Statistics release will be published in July 2022, alongside the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyzes (PESA) release. There are no expected changes to the spending frameworks for the next release.

PSS publication schedule for the coming year

Date release
May 2022 July PSS release contains the first publication of departmental spending outturn for the 2021-22 financial year. Local authority data and much of the data from the returned administrations are still provisional at this stage of the year. This is the main annual release.
Nov 2022 as well as the PSS release, the Country and Regional Analysis (AVE) is also published in November each year.
Feb 2023 This release contains updates to the key Public Spending Statistics series. It includes updated data for local authorities for the previous financial year.

GDP deflators and money GDP

Outturn data are based on the 28 March 2022 National Accounts figures from ONS

financial year GDP deflator at market prices (2020-21 = 100) % per cent change on previous year Money GDP (£millions)
2016-17 89,245 2.24 2,039,801
2017-18 90,782 1.72 2,111,738
2018-19 92,553 1.95 2,199,704
2019-20 94,656 2.27 2,260,614
2020-21 100,000 5.65 2,140,996

GDP Deflator: Financial years 2016-17 to 2020-21 taken from ONS series L8GG in Table N.

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