SCOTS who sold their former council homes after purchasing them under the controversial Right to Buy scheme made around £2 billion in profit during the last decade and a half of the policy.

New data stretching back to the turn of the millennium shows three ex-tenants sold their properties on the same day they were purchased, while 24 sold within a fortnight.

One social housing property in Glasgow was bought for £12,000 under Right to Buy in 2000, before being sold six years later for £750,000 – a real-terms profit of £736,040.

Margaret Thatcher’s government introduced Right to Buy in 1980, giving tenants of councils and some housing associations the right to purchase their home at a large discount, which increased the longer they had lived there.

It became one of the most divisive housing policies of recent decades, with 500,000 homes sold under the scheme in Scotland before it was scrapped north of the Border in 2016.

Paul Dossett, head of local government at financial services firm Grant Thornton UK LLP, said it had been a “disaster” for taxpayers. He said: “The Right to Buy scheme, along with population and single person household growth, has contributed to the nationwide housing shortage facing the UK. This is particularly true for the social housing sector where the shortage of homes has resulted in an increase in rent prices.”

Figures uncovered by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit show former social housing properties which were bought under Right to Buy and sold on again have made a combined profit of around £6.4bn across the UK since the year 2000.

In Scotland, the total profit comes to more than £2 billion, with sales in East Lothian making the most.

However, this includes a small number of properties which were sold within three years and would have been subject to discount repayments of 100 per cent in the first year, 66% in the second year and 33% in the third year.

Not all former tenants made a profit. One home bought for £72,000 under Right to Buy in 2001 was sold on for £2,500 in 2011 – a real-terms loss of £95,206.

Just 33 (0.08%) out of 39,325 ex-tenants made a loss on their home, with 713 (1.8%) making a real-terms loss.

Meanwhile, the average time between purchase and sale was 5.7 years.

Some 53,175 people remain the original Right to Buy owners as of April 2018.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “By the time Right to Buy ended in Scotland, around 500,000 homes had been sold and taken out of the social rented sector, causing a housing shortage in many areas. By ending the scheme we have protected around 15,500 homes over a 10-year period.

“This will benefit current and future tenants, the wider community, and support our efforts to increase the supply of affordable homes for Scotland, which is the sustainable, long-term solution to addressing housing affordability.”

He said the Scottish Government is committed to delivering “at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by over £3 billion investment during the lifetime of this Parliament”.