Peter Smith

party: Labour Party
constituency: South West Norfolk

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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

Yes, I do, and that is my party's manifesto policy (Labour)

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

Yes, and it need s to be done through local councils wherever possible.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

It shouldn't be restricted by the state or private companies, though the content of what is placed on the internet poses real difficulties.Material which breaks the law, for example , incitement to race hate, threats to life or the use of the internet for the trade in, for example, elephant tusks, should lead to prosecution. The same should apply to child pornography and sex trafficking.
Every effort should be made to make access to sites for children appropriate, but that must mean control by parents, not the state.

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

In the same way as with children. My mother, who is 101, simply would not cope without her carer being with her. That would require the provision of carer accommodation , and ideally, the patient not being in a ward, but in a private room. Many hospitals do welcome a carer's help and presence, especially with the current staff shortages and desperately stretched resources.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

This is very diificult as we have already moved so far into a surveillance culture - much further than our EU neighbours - that it is very difficult to reverse. We are being captured on CCTV everywhere we go. Digital photography, including camera phones, means we are being photographed, often without our knowledge or permission, all the time. Monitoring of emails and phone calls/messages is endemic with police and security services.This is very worrying, but awareness of the problems does not mean I have any answers as to how it can be tackled. I would, if elected, make sure that I worked with people with the legal and technological knowhow to come up with workable solutions

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, of course, whilst they remain part of the UK, which I hope they do. The same principles of free speech should underpin all parts of the UK.

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, and that's what my party is proposing in our manifesto. Cue the predictable outrage from landlords and Tory claims that it would discourage people from becoming landlords! If such people don't consider that meeting minimum standards in properties they wish to let is necessary then they are not fit and proper people to be landlords!

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

Yes, I would. And this should be used to enable councils to once again build council houses.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

I have already answered this question. Yes, they are too high in many parts of the country where, for a variety of reasons, demand is high.

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

organisation: CISTA

Yes, but a time-limited commission, as they can run on and on. In the meantime, having seen the devastating impact of 'legal highs' I would legislate against them immediately. Otherwise, drug laws should be evidence -based