Local authorities raised an additional £72 million by using their powers to reduce or remove the council tax discount on empty homes in 2005-06. The Government believe that local authorities should have the freedom to apply any additional resources raised in line with local priorities rather than prescribing what these should be.
The Government make a net contribution to the Housing Revenue Account, which is redistributed between local authority areas. A table showing the housing revenue account surpluses paid to Government (and the subsidies paid by Government to authorities) has been placed in the House Library. This shows that in 2005-06 166 local authorities paid surpluses totalling £546,936,692 and 66 local authorities received subsidies totalling £754,559,247.
The system was different prior to April 2004. The figures given for 2002-03 and 2003-04 are for the nearest equivalent—the "housing element surplus or subsidy" i.e. the net position excluding rent rebate subsidies.