FAMILIES which took advantage of the right to buy scheme made £50,000 each in south Essex.

Those who sold their properties on having purchased them as part of the scheme made an average of £51,000 with a high of £63,700 in Thurrock or £40,000 in Castle Point and Rochford.

The revelation has led some critics to call for the Margaret Thatcher-initiated scheme to be scrapped after it emerged some homes were sold on almost immediately after purchase.

A £120,000 Rochford property was bought and sold in just five days. Terry Cutmore, head of Rochford District Council, explained the council had transferred its housing stock to what is now known as Sanctuary Housing Association, 11 years ago.

The BBC analysed 600 pieces of comparable data from house sales in Uttlesford, Thurrock, Basildon, Southend, Rochford and Castle Point. It showed sellers in south Essex kept their homes for 7.5 years before being sold, in line with the national average.

In Southend, people made one of the lowest daily profits between the time they bought their council home to the time they sold it at £32.

Jackie Bliss, chief executive of Southend’s homelessness charity HARP, said: “One of the contributing factors to rising homelessness in Southend is the acute and chronic lack of affordable housing. There is no doubt the Right To Buy scheme, although introduced with good intentions, has exacerbated this situation by depleting council house stock and putting pressure on the rest of the housing market. Sadly, when combined with other factors like poor mental health, changes to the benefits system and relatively low pay for jobs based in Southend, this can lead to people having to resort to sleeping rough on our streets.”

Tony Cox, Southend’s housing boss, said: “The housing market has changed somewhat in the almost four decades since Right to Buy was introduced but it’s fair to say the scheme has given many people who might not have had the opportunity otherwise, to own their own home.

“The rise in population, the right to buy, an absence of space to build and the demand for more affordable housing has left most local authorities, including Southend, with a highly challenging situation.

“We’re constantly looking at solutions to these problems and it is why we have been investing in the building of affordable homes across the borough in recent years.”

“It’s also a key focus of our new housing strategy, and is key topic of debate for our ongoing local plan discussions with the community as we plan for the future.”