Charlotte George

party: Green Party
constituency: Hackney South and Shoreditch

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

organisation: CISTA

Yes we would. The War on Drugs has failed on every level. The Green Party thinks we should treat drug addiction as a health problem rather than a crime, making drugs policy the responsibility of the Department of Health and immediately decriminalising both the individual use of drugs and the sale of drugs for personal use, in order to ensure that resources are targeted at supporting, not punishing, drug users. We also want to adopt an evidence-based approach to the step by step regulation of those drugs currently banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act, as well as ‘legal highs’, starting with cannabis, with a view to introducing a system that reduces harms and brings the market under state control as a potential tax revenue generator.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Thanks for your question. The Green Party manifesto is clear on this. We support a world of open, freely flowing information. We don’t want disproportionate or unaccountable surveillance or censorship. We want a transparent state, but we want control over the data that our digital lives create. We need copyright laws that reward creators but which are consistent with digital technologies. Above all we want democratic political control of this technology.
We oppose any case for secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden. We do accept that government law enforcement agencies may need to intercept communications in specific circumstances. Such specific surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine Parliamentary oversight.
We would Replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which has failed to regulate the deployment of undercover police; to support the confidentiality of journalistic sources; to support legal confidentiality; and to enshrine an open and effective right of redress.
We believe in following human rights judgments limiting surveillance and data retention in full.

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. Libel laws across the UK need reform to ensure freedom of speech is being protected and people can't be bullied out of making fair criticisms of people and theories.

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 indeed. The Green Party would introduce longer tenancy agreements, 5 years as standard, with any rent increases agreed at the beginning of the lease and a legal cap on how much rents can go up outside a rental agreement (based on CPI). In addition, we would abolish letting agents fees and insurance-based deposit schemes, and champion local not-for-profit letting agencies.

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 - absolutely. The Greens promise to build 500,000 social rented homes to high sustainability standards by increasing the social housing budget from £1.5bn pa to £6bn pa in the lifetime of the Parliament, removing borrowing caps from local councils, and creating 35,000 good jobs. We also propose devolving housing benefits budgets to councils, so they can design packages that improve access to housing in their local market and enable them to build more council housing.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes, we have a number of policies that tackles this. In addition to increasing the supply of social housing, Greens would give the Bank of England the powers it has requesteded to limit the size of mortgages in relation to the property value and the borrower’s income; take steps to ensure that development is more evenly distributed across the whole of the country, so reducing pressure on housing in the South East in particular; make ‘buy to let’ less attractive, so reducing pressure on house prices, by removing tax incentives, including the deduction of mortgage interest as an expense, and reform of the ‘wear and tear’ allowance; end "right to buy" of council housing and other public housing stock.

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. We are absolutely in favour of net neutrality. The Green Party also supports limiting the censoring or takedown of content or activity to exceptional circumstances, clearly set out within a comprehensive legal framework, and the EU’s proposals to strengthen data protection laws against opposition from large US data driven companies.