Rayner defends herself after selling council house for profit

Labour's Angela Rayner has rejected accusations of hypocrisy after she personally benefitted from a housing policy developed by Margaret Thatcher that she has since criticised.

The party's deputy leader and shadow levelling up secretary insisted she was not "ashamed" to have bought her council house at a discounted rate in 2007 under the late former prime minister's right-to-buy scheme - despite wanting to review it if her party gets into power at the next election.

The Labour frontbencher issued the response after the Mail on Sunday revealed she had made a £48,500 profit on her ex-council house under right-to-buy, which she has previously criticised for giving some tenants "loads and loads of discount".

The newspaper reported Ms Rayner bought her own former council house in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with a 25% discount in 2007 and realised the increased return when she sold it at the market rate eight years later.

Politics live: No senior Labour figure 'would dream of threatening Speaker', Nandy insists after Commons chaos

The revelation about Ms Rayner's house sale - due to be published in Lord Ashcroft's biography of the Labour deputy leader, Red Queen - comes after she promised to review the high discounts introduced by the coalition government in 2012, as well as a review to stop newly-built social homes from being sold off.

Tory MP Mark Jenkinson posted a link of the article on X, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote: "So Angela Rayner is a massive hypocrite, who knew?"

But in her own post on the social media platform, Ms Rayner said being able to buy her council house in 2007 was a "proud moment for me".

"I worked hard, saved and bought it by the book," she said.

"I'm not ashamed - but I am angry that the Tories have since put the dream of a secure home out of reach for so many others."

She added: "It's clear that Lord Ashcroft and his friends not only take an unhealthy interest in my family - but want to kick down at people like me who graft hard in tough circumstances to get on in life. I won't let them."

Read more:
Who is Angela Rayner? The story behind the country's possible next deputy PM
'Buying a flat ruined my life': Leaseholders plead for tougher legislation against home ownership 'scam'

The right-to-buy scheme was brought in by Baroness Thatcher as part of the Housing Act of 1980 and allows council tenants to buy their properties at a big discount.

Under the system, councils can only keep a third of the receipts from each sale to build a replacement home, with the rest going to the council and government for other purposes.

Councils are also prevented from borrowing to make up the shortfall.

In 2012, David Cameron increased discounts offered by the right-to-buy scheme after they were reduced by Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997.

Ms Rayner said Labour believed those who live in a council house "should have the opportunity to own their own home".

"Working people should be able to buy the social home they rented for a reasonable discount," she added.

"We've said we'll review the unfair additional market discounts of up to 60% the Tories introduced in 2012, long after I was able to exercise the right to buy (25%) under the old system. That's not hypocrisy, it's the right thing to do.

"But the problem with the right-to-buy was never ordinary people's dreams of owning their own home - it was that council housing stock was sold off and then not replaced. It's helped fuel the housing crisis."

In an interview with i newspaper last year, in which she promised to review right-to-buy, Ms Rayner said while she believed council tenants should be able to purchase their homes through the policy, it should be reviewed to ensure it did not have a negative impact on affordable housing.

"If someone's lived in their property for a long time, they've been paying rent and it's their home, then, yes, right-to-buy it," she said.

"But that right isn't that you get loads, loads of discount and we can't replace the stock."