Grenfell and the return of ‘social murder’
in Safe as houses
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This chapter introduces the context, main arguments and chapter structure of the book. It begins by recounting the main events of the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 and the ensuing political fallout, explaining that the disaster had been foretold in previous deadly fires and warnings about the impact of the deregulation of building and fire safety. It goes on to argue that this refusal to listen made Grenfell an act of what Friedrich Engels called ‘social murder’ at the hands of unregulated private greed. The chapter proceeds to outline the book’s overall argument that Grenfell has exposed a deeper neoliberal fault-line in the governance of housing safety from decades of privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation. It also sets out the three main case studies of regeneration under PFI underpinning the book’s argument, and gives a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book. The chapter ends by detailing the empirical evidence and research process underpinning the book.

Safe as houses

Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell


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