Friday, 16 June 2017

"Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle" (Guardian 16/06/17)

Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle ***
Dir: Paul Sng. Documentary with: Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Hitchens, Caroline Lucas, Rushanara Ali. 82 mins. Cert: PG

Whoever forms the next Government, one would hope a DVD of this lands on their desks sharpish. Paul Sng’s documentary offers a carefully balanced, clear-headed study of the myriad ways the UK property market has skewed and malfunctioned in the years since the Thatcher regime established the right-to-buy scheme. What’s notable is the scope of its inquiry: Sng ventures that the issue is as rooted in our primetime television schedules – where “poverty porn” frames affordable housing as a dead-end rather than a societal cornerstone – as in those decisions taken in high council chambers. It can feel breathless, striving to compress reams of information into 80 minutes, but Sng and cinematographer Nick Ward prove keen collectors of images that crystallise the debate they’re entering. On one side, concrete foxholes in abject disrepair; on the other, the shrink-wrapped gleam of those luxury developments raised solely to be traded as status symbols. The juxtaposition, as in all our hometowns, is a provocation in itself. 

Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is now playing in selected cinemas.

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