More than 54,000 council homes in London sold as part of the Right to Buy scheme are now owned by private landlords.

The Right to Buy scheme, which has been running since 1980, allows tenants of council properties to buy their homes at a discounted price after living in them for more than two years.

A report by Labour London Assembly Member Tom Copley found 42 per cent of council homes sold under Right to Buy in the capital are now owned by private landlords.

Mr Copley said: “Something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them.

“The Right to Buy is failing London and should be abolished.”

The report found local authorities in the capital are paying more than £22 million a year to rent former council homes to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families.

The report also showed 466 individuals or companies have the lease for at least five Right to Buy homes each.

Mr Copley warned against building new council homes, only for them to be sold off.

He called on the Government to exempt newly built council homes from Right to Buy and create legislation which prevents Right to Buy homes being let on the private market.

He added: “Many councils are building new council homes again for the first time in a generation. But we risk treading water or even going backwards if we continue to lose precious existing homes to Right to Buy.

“At a time when the need for homes at social rent level far outweighs the numbers being built, it’s reckless to continue to force the discounted sale of council homes.”

According to the 2017 Strategic Housing Market Assessment there needs to be just under 40,000 new lost-cost rented homes each year.

Since 1994 the total number of homes owned by local authorities has fallen by over 200 million with the number of new homes built for social rent at just over 150 million – a shortfall of nearly 100,000.