House of Commons Library

Government grants statistics

Published Thursday, May 16, 2019

Background and statistics on the grants that the Government pays out to organisations like local authorities, public bodies and charities.

Jump to full report >>

In 2017-18, the Government paid out around £113 billion in grants to organisations like local authorities, public bodies and charities. This represents around 14% of all Government spending for that year.

Grants are divided into two main types: formula grants, where funding is distributed to a particular class of recipients by a mathematical formula, and general grants, which are given for a particular purpose. General grants can be classified further depending on whether recipients compete for funding, have to demonstrate that they meet certain criteria, or are simply given funding directly.

According to Cabinet Office data, over half of all grants in 2017-18 went to the education sector. Much of the funding was given out via local authorities. Formula grants made up 82% of all grant funding in 2017-18, of which most also went to education and local authorities.

General grants in 2017-18 mostly supported local economic growth and scientific research. Most grants were under £1 million, but there were also a few very large grants – the recipients who received the most were local authorities and universities.

Organisations based in London typically received the largest grants, with smaller concentrations in other cities. A small number of grants went to other countries.

Businesses and organisations can obtain grants through online sources such as Grantfinder, and the Library can help with sources for grants in specific areas.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8569

Author: Philip Brien

Topic: Public expenditure

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.