The Right to Buy revolution still divides Britain’s estates, 30 years on

Thirty years ago this month – on 20 December 1979 – the new Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher published its housing bill, changing the social face of Britain with one of the most popular political promises in history: the Right to Buy.

Today the repercussions are still being felt. This year the number of council houses sold off passed the two million mark; so too did the numbers of people across Britain on waiting lists for a council house, up almost 10 per cent in a year.

Some inner-city areas would need decades to clear their backlog.

With house building all but stopped in a recession that has seen repossessions and unemployment rise, there is a crisis in Britain’s homes, and the finger of blame is pointed firmly at that ‘social revolution’ of 1979.