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.
Wednesday 27th March 2019 - 7pm-8.30pm
Stuart will be launching the book at Blackwells' new bookshop in Manchester with Phil Murphy, former firefighter and now prominent campaigner on resident safety and empowerment issues.
Venue: University Green
146 Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9GP
London: Rethinking Economics Conference
Sunday 31st March 2019 - 12.30pm-1.30pm
Stuart will be speaking with Beth Stratford on the UK housing crisis at the Still Rethinking: The Need for Pluralism in Economics conference (30-31 March 2019) organised by Rethinking Economics Greenwich (REG) and the Institute of Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability (PEGFA) at the University of Greenwich.
Venue: Queen Anne Court
University of Greenwich
London, SE10 9LS
Sheffield: Housing Studies Association Conference
Wednesday 10th April 2019 - 6.30pm
Stuart will be launching the book at the annual Housing Studies Association Conference alongside the launch of the Radical Housing Journal. The book launch is free and open to the public but the conference itself has fees - check out the HSA conference website for more information.
Venue: Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria Hotel
Victoria Station Road
Sheffield, S4 7YE
Edinburgh: Mini Mayday Bookfair
Sunday 5th May 2019 - details to be confirmed
"A timely and important book, exposing how private profit and reckless privatisation have caused unspeakable tragedies to social housing in this country."
DAVID LAMMY MP
Labour MP for Tottenham and author of Out of the Ashes: Britain After the Riots (2011)