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What is Right to Buy?

A policy brought in by Margaret Thatcher to allow council tenants to purchase their houses.

By New Statesman

Right to Buy is the name of a policy brought in by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1980. It allows council tenants to purchase the home they live in at a significant discount.

It was a very popular policy, with one in three purchasing their property. Labour initially opposed the policy but ended up dropping its opposition to it in 1985. Ed Miliband recently stated, “We’re not in principle opposed to Right to Buy.”

General arguments in favour of the policy are based on the “British dream” of everyone being able to have their own property. Arguments against include the massive reduction in state housing stock, increasing property prices, more disadvantaged people being forced into the private rental sector, and the ghettoisation of the most deprived areas.

One of the current Conservative party pledges is to extend Right to Buy to residents of housing associations. Housing associations are not-for-profit private organisations that provide social housing to those in need of a home. 

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