Outsourcing on steroids
Regeneration meets the Private Finance Initiative
in Safe as houses
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This chapter introduces the controversial background and evolution of the PFI model in public housing regeneration. A first section outlines the basic workings of PFI and how it emerged as part of the wider corporate takeover and financialisation of public services. A second section debunks official claims that the inflated cost of private finance is justified by the superior ‘value for money’ delivered through PFI’s ‘risk transfer’ and ‘payment by results’ model. A third section provides an overview of the origins and evolution of PFI during the 2000s as the ‘only game in town’ for local authorities that wanted to retain ownership of public housing and access the desperately needed finance for home and estates in need of major regeneration and refurbishment. It introduces the 20 public housing PFI regeneration schemes now operational in England, as well as the three London local authority case studies which form the evidence base of the book: Islington’s street properties, Camden’s Chalcots Estate and Lambeth’s Myatts Field North estate. A final section reveals the controversy on the ground that met the undemocratic imposition of many housing PFI schemes – sometimes in the face of resident opposition – and the problems that engulfed the procurement of these contracts.

Safe as houses

Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell


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