Income & Cost of Living

Living in Scotland offers all the benefits of life in the UK with weekly household costs generally 20% cheaper than London, and 10% cheaper than the rest of the UK as a whole. 

Income

Salaries

The average annual salary is £27,000. Scotland’s median earnings are the third highest of the 12 UK countries and regions (with only London and the South East having higher average earnings). 

Aberdeen and Edinburgh offer some of the highest average salaries in the UK - £38,000 and £35,800 respectively. London is the only UK city where average wages are higher.

Take-home pay

Everyone who works in Scotland pays Income Tax and National Insurance from their earnings for the public services and benefits provided by the government. In most cases, your employer automatically deducts these from your monthly salary.   

The first £10,600 of your income is tax-free, and on the next £31,875 you will pay 20% in tax. For most people, the top rate of tax is 40%.  

Most employed people pay Class 1 National Insurance. This normally means you will pay 12% on your earnings between £672-£3532 per month and 2% on your earning over £3532 per month. 

Expenditure

Cost of Housing

Although house prices and rent are often lower than other parts of the UK, prices vary according to where you live and the type of property you have. Property prices in Scotland are £200,000 on average, compared to the UK average of £274,000. The average monthly rent is £537.

Cost of Food

The cost of your weekly groceries depends on what you buy, the number of people you shop for and where you go. The average household spends £54.80 per week on food, which is lower than most other parts of the UK.

Home Energy

Home energy prices will depend on how energy efficient your home is and what energy supplier you choose. Most households will spend about £25 per week on gas and electricity for their home.

Getting Around

Well-organised road, rail and ferry networks link Scotland from cities to the coastline. If you plan ahead, you can often get cheap travel deals. If you’re going to commute regularly for work, you can save money by purchasing weekly, monthly or annual season tickets. The average household spends £12.40 per week on public transport.

Cost of Cars

Generally, car prices in Scotland are similar to other parts of the UK. If you know what you’re looking for, you can usually get a good price. You can compare the price of cars on various online car dealers offering both new and used vehicles.

Most people in Scotland spend an average of £23.20 per week on petrol.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is a sales tax that is applied to most goods and services. When you buy goods from a shop the price will include VAT. When buying services, VAT is often shown as a separate amount and when getting a quote, or an estimate, for a service - you should check whether the price includes or excludes VAT.  

The standard rate of VAT is 20%. Some items such as children’s clothing and most food are zero rated, while VAT on home energy is 5%.