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23May

Tenants by Vicky Spratt review – empty rooms and empty promises

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.

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