RIGHT to Buy was introduced in 1980 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Under the policy eligible tenants were offered a discount on the purchase of their home on an incremental scale based on length of occupancy.

Those who had lived in their council house for up to three years were offered a 33 per cent discount and this then increased in stages up to a 50 per cent discount for a tenancy of 20 years or more.

The same model is still in place today across England, although it is based on a revised discount scale.

Householders who have been a public sector tenant for three to five years receive a 35 per cent discount.

After five years the discount increases by one per cent for every extra year of tenancy up to a maximum of 70 per cent ­— or £80,900.

However, those who take advantage of the RtB scheme but sell their home within the first five years of ownership, must repay some of the discount to their local authority.

This repayment is based on resale price and ranges from 100 per cent of the discount if the house is sold in the first year to 20 per cent in the fifth year.

Further if a former tenant wishes to sell their house within 10 years of purchase they are required to offer the council the right to first refusal to buy it back.

In 2015 the policy was extended as part of a Conservative party manifesto pledge and is now also available to housing association tenants in several pilot areas in England.