May 23, 2022
This astute analysis examines the toxic lottery of Britain’s housing crisis and the devastating outcomes of having no fixed abode
If the government of one of the richest countries in the world can’t adequately house the people who live in it, then what exactly is its point? The journalist Vicky Spratt doesn’t make this case directly in her first book, but she does lay bare our state’s lack of fitness for purpose in its current condition, showing how scarce, unsafe, cramped, unaffordable and, above all, insecure housing lies at the root of Britain’s ongoing public health crisis.
How did we get here? To put it bluntly, we allowed ourselves to be bought off. Instead of investing in skills, industry and people, voters were consistently told that if they bought a house they’d be set for life, and if they didn’t, it was their own fault if they ended up poor and voiceless. Everyone knows it’s a busted flush: even Michael Gove, now housing and “levelling up” minister, has belatedly recognised the urgent necessity for more social housing if he’s going to live up to his job title. Continue reading...
May 26, 2021
A gripping account of the community wealth-building scheme that turned a hard-up city’s fortunes around
The Lancashire city of Preston, originator of artisans’ guilds, has long been overshadowed by its resurgent neighbours Liverpool and Manchester – but no longer. It’s now better known as the home of “the Preston model” of sustainable economic development, which has boosted local jobs and wages and shown a way to reinvent local government in an age of Westminster dominance.
In 2011 Preston was in a bad way, having lost the backing from global developers Lend Lease and Grosvenor to build a vast shopping complex in the city centre. The 2008 financial crash and its fallout left the Labour council with a choice: to live with Westminster-managed decline, or to consider – in spite of everything we’ve been told for the last 40 years – that there is an alternative way to run local economies. Continue reading...