"Secret polls" show New Democracy leading in Greece

Market surges amid rumours of Syriza loss.

Polling in Greece is banned in the two weeks leading up to an election, so we have very little information as to what the likely outcome of the 17 June vote will be. It will definitely be New Democracy, the conservative party, and Syriza, the radical left, in the top two places; and the margin is unlkely to be more than 3 per cent either way. But beyond that, everything is very up in the air.

Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal, however, points out that the Greek stock market has surged today:

He says:

According to Greek stock market participants, there are "secret polls" that show the pro-bailout New Democracy party is leading and likely to win this Sunday's election. Technically, polling is banned for the two weeks prior to the election, but the parties and so forth are still keeping tabs on the mood of the electorate, and these polls can get out. 

Furthermore, Greek betting sites have shown also a spike in bets placed on New Democracy, and this too is seen as evidence of a shift. So traders like the stability of the pro-bailout, conservative New Democracy party over the chaos of the left-wing Syriza party, and thus at least right now are speculating that the status quo wll remain.

All of this is to be taken with the biggest grain of salt possible, of course. It's an inference from an inference – no one is on the record as having actually seen these polls and it's all too easy for a rumour like this to become self-sustaining. But the market is hungry for information from Greece, and any will do.

A Greek worker adjusts flags before a speech by the leader of Pasok, the party in third place. Credit: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Grenfell survivors were promised no rent rises – so why have the authorities gone quiet?

The council now says it’s up to the government to match rent and services levels.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster, the government made a pledge that survivors would be rehoused permanently on the same rent they were paying previously.

For families who were left with nothing after the fire, knowing that no one would be financially worse off after being rehoused would have provided a glimmer of hope for a stable future.

And this is a commitment that we’ve heard time and again. Just last week, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) reaffirmed in a statement, that the former tenants “will pay no more in rent and service charges for their permanent social housing than they were paying before”.

But less than six weeks since the tragedy struck, Kensington and Chelsea Council has made it perfectly clear that responsibility for honouring this lies solely with DCLG.

When it recently published its proposed policy for allocating permanent housing to survivors, the council washed its hands of the promise, saying that it’s up to the government to match rent and services levels:

“These commitments fall within the remit of the Government rather than the Council... It is anticipated that the Department for Communities and Local Government will make a public statement about commitments that fall within its remit, and provide details of the period of time over which any such commitments will apply.”

And the final version of the policy waters down the promise even further by downplaying the government’s promise to match rents on a permanent basis, while still making clear it’s nothing to do with the council:

It is anticipated that DCLG will make a public statement about its commitment to meeting the rent and/or service charge liabilities of households rehoused under this policy, including details of the period of time over which any such commitment will apply. Therefore, such commitments fall outside the remit of this policy.”

It seems Kensington and Chelsea council intends to do nothing itself to alter the rents of long-term homes on which survivors will soon be able to bid.

But if the council won’t take responsibility, how much power does central government actually have to do this? Beyond a statement of intent, it has said very little on how it can or will intervene. This could leave Grenfell survivors without any reassurance that they won’t be worse off than they were before the fire.

As the survivors begin to bid for permanent homes, it is vital they are aware of any financial commitments they are making – or families could find themselves signing up to permanent tenancies without knowing if they will be able to afford them after the 12 months they get rent free.

Strangely, the council’s public Q&A to residents on rehousing is more optimistic. It says that the government has confirmed that rents and service charges will be no greater than residents were paying at Grenfell Walk – but is still silent on the ambiguity as to how this will be achieved.

Urgent clarification is needed from the government on how it plans to make good on its promise to protect the people of Grenfell Tower from financial hardship and further heartache down the line.

Kate Webb is head of policy at the housing charity Shelter. Follow her @KateBWebb.