About the BOOK
The Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 that killed 72 people has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing, deregulation and landlords turning a blind eye to residents’ safety concerns.
Stuart Hodkinson is an academic and campaigner who has worked for over a decade with residents’ groups across the UK, documenting their shocking regeneration experiences at the hands of private companies allowed to self-regulate on quality in lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. His research has focused on council housing regeneration schemes in London under the infamous Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
In this book, Safe as Houses: Private Greed, Political Negligence and Housing Policy after Grenfell (Manchester University Press, 2019), he weaves these stories together to help understand why Grenfell happened and how it could easily happen again. A terrifying pattern is presented in which the initial promise of better quality housing melts away, leaving residents to grapple with unsafe work, higher rents and service charges, and a united front of local authority landlords and their private contractors determined to ignore, deflect, and even silence those who speak out.
The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation for good. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to residents.