FORMER council tenants in Redditch who bought their homes under Right to Buy made average profits of more than £45,000 figures analysed by the BBC have revealed.

A total of 254 homes were sold under the scheme in the district between 2000 and 2018 – an investigation by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit found – and former council tenants averaged profits of £46,560 when they sold their properties.

The investigation, which looked at HM Land Registry figures – published in Freedom of Information responses, found former tenants in Redditch typically kept their properties once bought under Right to Buy for an average of 2,409 days (roughly six years and seven months) – during which time they averaged a profit of around £28 per day.

Some 2.6 million council homes have been sold across Great Britain since the Right to Buy policy came into effect in October 1980 - enabling council tenants to buy their homes at a discount.

Those who sold within five years of purchasing would have had to repay the discount on a sliding scale depending how long they kept their home - but the discounts repaid were not recorded in the data used for this analysis - and former tenants who sold within the first 10 years of buying homes had to offer their council the chance to buy back the property first.

Late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said when it was introduced that Right to Buy would pave the way for a "property-owning democracy" and supporters of the scheme say it has helped people to secure their financial futures.

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: "Under Right to Buy, the government has helped nearly two million people achieve their dream of home ownership and we are working hard to make sure that everyone in the country who wants it has a shot at getting on the housing ladder.

“Tenants who use Right to Buy must repay some of their discount back to their council if they sell the property within the first five years, and must offer their local authority the opportunity to buy it back.”

Critics of the scheme, however, say too many people have profited from a policy that had "much bigger social ambitions".

A spokesman for the Chartered Institute for Housing said: “We think the time is right to suspend it (in England) to stem the loss of homes for social rent – which are often the only genuinely affordable option for people on lower incomes. Not only are we failing to build enough homes for social rent – right to buy means we are losing them at a time when millions of people need genuinely affordable housing more than ever."

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, the housing and anti-homelessness charity, added: “While Right-to-Buy has helped some people to get on the property ladder who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to, it’s stored up serious trouble for the future because we’re still building far fewer homes than we’re selling off.

“The chronic shortage of social housing available is nothing short of a disaster given our current housing emergency."