Scotland has now formally ditched the Right to Buy policy after MSPs voted in 2014 to scrap it. Right to Buy, introduced in the early 1980s by the Thatcher government, enabled council tenants to buy their homes at a discount. It was the cornerstone of a Thatcherite vision of turning Britain into a property-owning nation and many families have taken advantage of the scheme.
But it has been blamed as one of the main causes a shortage of social housing across the UK after homes sold off under Right to Buy were not replaced at the same rate — and are still not, despite a commitment by the government to do so in 2012.
"Ending the Right to Buy will allow social landlords to plan longer term, manage assets and income more effectively and, most importantly, to invest to increase the number of social rented homes for the first time since 1981," said Tony Cain, policy manager at the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, to the BBC.
Housing is a devolved matter, meaning Scottish policy is controlled by Holyrood, not Westminster. In contrast to Scotland, England and Wales have continued to invest in Right to Buy. The former chancellor, George Osborne, pumped more money into Right to Buy in an effort to revive it as part of a plan to reverse a decline in the homeownership rate. It has also been extended, on a voluntary basis, to housing associations. To date, just under 2m council homes in England have been sold off. In Scotland, it is nearly half a million.
As of 2015, according to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), there were 1.24m households on housing waiting lists in England. An acute housing shortage in some parts of the country, particularly London, urban areas and the south-east of England, has driven up private rents and house prices sharply in recent years.
So is it time for England and Wales to follow Scotland's lead and scrap Right to Buy? Or should it be maintained as a means for those on lower incomes to be able to do what they otherwise would not be able to — buy their own home? Vote in our poll.