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Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers. 

1. British politics is broken - and only Nigel Farage is profiting (Daily Telegraph)

The Ukip chief is alone among the party leaders in being able to navigate our shattered political landscape, writes Peter Oborne.

2. Google ruling shows EU law is an ass (Financial Times)

The right to delete does not mean history should be hidden from the collective view, writes John Gapper. 

3. The tech firms hate the Google verdict, but they can't be beyond the law (Guardian)

The digital industry's attacks on the "right to be forgotten" ruling should be treated with icy scepticism, says Martin Kettle. 

4. The chief executive of Pfizer failed to dispel the impression that tax, and tax alone, brought him here (Independent)

He failed to persuade the impartial observer that his company’s promises were credible, says an Independent editorial. 

5. We are not at war over free school lunches (Times)

Both coalition partners support this policy – because it has been proved that it help pupils to get better results, write Michael Gove and David Laws.

6. The rise of Europe's far right will only be halted by a populism of the left (Guardian)

Ukip's advance is part of a wider discontent, fed by EU-wide austerity and revulsion against an anti-democratic stitch-up, says Seumas Milne. 

7. Free speech must trump the right to privacy (Times)

The European Court ruling on internet searches will protect the powerful, not those who make innocent mistakes, says David Aaronovitch.

8. The Jo Shuter saga shows that even heroes need scrutiny (Guardian)

The swindling super-head has demonstrated the folly of giving local leaders freedom over their budgets, says Steve Richards.

9. Little Hannah gets her first taste of immigration red tape (Daily Telegraph)

Trying to get a passport for a baby highlights the absurdities of our passports system, says Sue Cameron. 

10. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney parks rate bus (Daily Mail)

Fear of a rise in rates in the early months of next year looks to have retreated into the middle distance, writes Alex Brummer. 
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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.