Mark Prisk MP is Minister for Housing. Follow Mark on Twitter.
In the 80s, under Right to Buy, Magaret Thatcher helped millions of people living in council housing achieve their aspiration of owning a home - and I'm proud to be continuing that work today. However, it has not been easy. The Labour Party has continually shown that they are not on the side of aspiration, or of those who want to work hard and get on. When in power, they made a succession of cuts to Right to Buy, slashing the level of discounts and eligibility criteria for council housing tenants. They also failed to increase those discounts to reflect rising property prices, and as a result this vital rung on the property ladder was all but removed.
Fast forward to today - when the latest figures show that in the last year sales under the Right to Buy scheme have more than doubled to 5,942: the highest level for six years. And this hasn't happened accidentally. Unlike Labour, we've been determined to make it easier for those who've paid their rent and now want to buy their own home to do so.
Our reason for doing this? Because, as Conservatives, we don't believe that home ownership should be just for some: we want many to achieve that dream, and the Right to Buy allows people to do just that. It gives something back to the families who've worked hard and played by the rules, and that's why I'm so passionate about it. It allows people to make changes to their home without getting permission from the council, and to enjoy the independence which goes with that. The benefits of this extend far beyond four walls, giving people a sense of pride and ownership not just in their home, but in their street and neighbourhood, helping to build strong families and stable mixed communities.