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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power 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. 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 its residents.

Open Access (free)
Criticisms, futures, alternatives

In the late 1990s Third Way governments were in power across Europe - and beyond, in the USA and Brazil, for instance. The Third Way experiment was one that attracted attention worldwide. The changes made by Left parties in Scandinavia, Holland, France or Italy since the late 1980s are as much part of Third Way politics as those developed in Anglo-Saxon countries. Since the early 1990s welfare reform has been at the heart of the Centre-Left's search for a new political middle way between post-war social democracy and Thatcherite Conservatism. For Tony Blair, welfare reform was key to establishing his New Labour credentials - just as it was for Bill Clinton and the New Democrats in the USA. Equality has been 'the polestar of the Left', and the redefinition of this concept by Giddens and New Labour marks a significant departure from post-war social democratic goals. The most useful way of approaching the problem of the Blair Government's 'Third Way' is to apply the term to its 'operational code': the precepts, assumptions and ideas that actually inform policy choice. The choice would be the strategy of public-private partnership (PPP) or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), as applied to health policy. New Labour is deeply influenced by the thoughts and sentiments of Amitai Etzioni and the new communitarian movement. Repoliticisation is what stands out from all the contributions of reconstructing the Third Way along more progressive lines.

Sarah Hale, Will Leggett, and Luke Martell

public services. If the public sector can be improved through private sector investment, then the Left should be open-minded about such investment. Eric Shaw, however, questions whether New Labour’s pragmatic arguments actually work. For him, the pragmatic case for the Private Finance Initiative does not stand up. It seems that there may be more than a merely pragmatic belief in

in The Third Way and beyond
The Third Way and the case of the Private Finance Initiative
Eric Shaw

(PPP) or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), 2 as applied to health policy. The PFI involves a separation between the role of commissioner of public services, which remains the responsibility of public authorities, and the role of provider of those services, which the private sector is encouraged to undertake. It has been described as the ‘key element in the Government

in The Third Way and beyond
Regeneration meets the Private Finance Initiative
Stuart Hodkinson

2 Outsourcing on steroids: regeneration meets the Private Finance Initiative Following the Grenfell disaster, an astonishing revelation was made by the London Metropolitan Police Service: it had identified at least 60 companies and bodies involved in the tower’s 2014–16 refurbishment, part of a total of 383 organisations connected with its original construction or subsequent management and maintenance.1 This scale of splintered governance is indicative of what has happened to public housing under decades of privatisation and demunicipalisation. This chapter

in Safe as houses
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Grenfell and the return of ‘social murder’
Stuart Hodkinson

refurbished and re-clad by Rydon between 2006 and 2009 under a controversial £153 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme to which I will return later in this book.9 At the time of writing, 468 high-rise buildings had been officially identified as having combustible cladding, with the majority in the private sector, as well as a number of schools and hospitals built under PFI.10 But the issues go beyond cladding. Checks in Greater Manchester found that 367 tower blocks – 75 per cent of the total – failed to meet safety standards, with only 117 of those surveyed

in Safe as houses
Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement
Author: Paddy Hoey

Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism.

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence.

Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles.

This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.

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Alex Mold

criteria were inadequate; and most significantly of all, they felt that the appraisal process did not take into account how the various options were to be funded.41 One member of the CHC, Shirley Hoole, commented that ‘the CHC should have been involved at an earlier stage to put the patient’s perspective. She [Hoole] did not see how the CHC 150 Making the patient-consumer could assess the options in a non-financial way since PFI [Private Finance Initiative] would affect six out of the ten benefit criteria.’42 SBCHC were concerned about the implications of building a

in Making the patient-consumer
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Who profits and how
Stuart Hodkinson

.81 197.44 1:2.6 Lambeth, Myatts Field North 2012  80.68 272.38 1:3.4 Leeds, Little London/Beeston Holbeck 2013 138.00 335.20 1:2.4 Salford, ‘Creating a New Pendleton’ 2013  80.70 427.33 1:5.3 Manchester, Brunswick 2013  82.57 273.34 1:3.3 North Tyneside, provision for older people 2014  87.94 272.68 1:3.2 1,585.35 5,574.88 1:3.5 Total Source: HM Treasury, ‘Private Finance Initiative and Private Finance 2 projects’: current projects as at 31 March 2017’, UK government website, 29 March 2018, at https://www.

in Safe as houses
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Pasts, present, futures
Michael Brown

the dictates of ‘evidencebased medicine’ and by the authority of hospital administrators and NHS Trust managers. Most of these developments originated with the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. But anyone who imagined that Labour’s victory in the general election of 1997 would reverse the trend soon found themselves disappointed. If anything, the challenge to medical professionalism has become even more intense. The marked expansion of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has seen business assume an even greater role in the administration

in Performing medicine