STROUD District Council has opted to take advantage of a government scheme to replace council homes lost through the Right to Buy program.

The move allows the council to retain funds received through Right to Buy sales since April 1 this year, whereas previously, 75 per cent of profits had to be paid back to central government.

This extra revenue can be used to fund up to 30 per cent of the cost of building or buying replacement homes, of which the council must commit the remaining 70 per cent.

Ministers introduced the scheme in the hope of generating an additional 100,000 sales nationally by 2015 to address a downward trend in take-up of the program, which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher under the Housing Act 1985.

As an added incentive, tenants who have remained in their council houses and flats for five years or more are eligible for discounts of up to 60 per cent off the market value of the property, depending on the length of time they have lived there.

Last year SDC sold five properties through Right to Buy and a further 25 applications have so far been received this year, of which at least half are expected to progress to actual sales.