Sebastian Kindersley

party: Liberal Democrats
constituency: South Cambridgeshire

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How would you reform surveillance law, oversight and practice to respect the rights of law-abiding people?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

We need a mature debate in this country about how to best tackle crime and protect privacy in the internet age. Our security and intelligence services must have the right tools to fight crime and terrorism, but this should never come at the expense of civil liberties. The idea of sacrificing freedom for the sake of security is a false choice. The Liberal Democrats want to introduce a “Digital Bill of Rights” after the 2015 election to give people more power over their data too. This will protect us against blanket surveillance without affecting our ability to tackle emerging threats or target criminals. Our online behaviour should be treated with the same respect as our offline behaviour

The right of parents to remain with their children in hospital has been established for over forty years. How would you ensure carers of people with dementia are equally welcome in hospital?

organisation: John's Campaign

I'd like to know more about why any Hospital does not welcome carers for dementia patients.

Should people in Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same free speech protections from libel bullies as their neighbours in England and Wales?

organisation: English PEN

Yes

Recent polling show that people support rent control by a margin of nine to one. Do you support a rent control that limits rent rises between tenancies as well as during tenancies?

organisation: Generation Rent

See above.

The standards of goods and services that are essential, such as food and water, are generally highly regulated. Do you support enforced minimum standards in housing as a precondition of a renting?

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes

Britain spends £24 billion on housing benefit and less than £1.5 billion on building homes. Do you support an increase in the social housebuilding grant to £5 billion a year to build homes?

organisation: Generation Rent

Building more will give first-time buyers a better chance of getting on the housing ladder, provide badly needed homes for the 1.4 million people on housing waiting lists and allow us to keep up with the 220,000 new households formed each year. We plan to build up to 300,000 more homes pa but I'd prefer to see a mix of funding streams.

Governments implement policies that directly and indirectly impact on house prices. Do you think house prices are too high?

organisation: Generation Rent

In some parts of the UK, yes.

To what degree should access to information on the internet be restricted by the state or private companies?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I have grave concerns about any restriction on the internet.

Would you support the creation of a Royal Commission to review Britain’s drug laws?

organisation: CISTA

Yes

Private sector landlords receive over £27bn a year in housing benefit and tax breaks. Would you support a rent tax that recouped up to a third of this to fund new housing supply?

organisation: Generation Rent

I don’t believe that a rent cap is the solution to this problem. Evidence from Britain and around the world shows rent controls lead to fewer properties on the market and higher rents as a result, which no one wants to see.

Instead, I think the best solution is to build more homes. Increasing the supply of homes available will be more effective at bringing down prices, providing more choice for renters, and make renting more affordable.

A recent cross-party select committee inquiry into the private rented sector, chaired by Labour MP Clive Betts, agreed with this view and concluded that “Rent control would serve only to reduce investment in the sector at a time when it is most needed. We agree that the most effective way to make rents more affordable would be to increase supply, particularly in those areas where demand is highest.”

That’s why Liberal Democrats have set out ambitious plans to build 300,000 homes per year, including 10 new Garden Cities. We would create a Housing Investment Bank to help finance major housebuilding projects and encourage development on unwanted public sector land.

Building more homes will force down rents in the private rented sector by making more houses available.