Simon Cross

party: Green Party
constituency: Rochford and Southend East

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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)

It is important that people feel protected and safe but I would outlaw any personally intrusive use of surveillance laws without suspicion. Most people are law abiding and therefore should not be constantly watched. Removing intrusive surveillance is a priority of the Green Party.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Any misuse of people's personal data without express permission of the person should be a criminal offence. Companies misuse data on all of us on a daily basis and this must end. Deciding on whether to employ people based on social media is wrong and should also not be allowed. There is only one place where it is important to monitor media and that is in cases where there is suspicion of hatred or terrorism and this should still be monitored.

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 feel it is important to treat all long term health conditions with the same level of empathy. There should be no bar on people being with their loved ones at times of health problems and illness. Car parking should be free and there should be hotel facilities free for the use of those who need to be with their loved ones. This should extend to both physical and mental wellbeing. :-)

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

I support this measure and all other measures which will lead to everyone having the ability to live in warm, safe and affordable housing. I would also look for all renters to be registered and made to ensure that the legal matters of property rental are followed by all. Rents are far too high and we must fight to reduce rent or mortgage as a percentage of household income.

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

All parts of our union should be afforded total equality in all maters relating to their social wellbeing. I feel that representation of a union in a parliament should reflect equality. English votes on English issues does not play well with me because we are a union of countries who should be working to the common purpose of ensuring that all laws are applied equally. Libel bullying is particularly nasty and people in a free society should be protected from this at all times.

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

I fully support minimum standards as long as these are high standards leading to unsafe and unfit properties being removed totally from the housing mix. I fight hard locally to aim for setting a good minimum standard.

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

I would go further than this. I support the Green strategy of creating an interest free fund available to local authorities for the building and maintenance of appropriate fair rent council housing, the buying back of properties empty for over 6 months into local available stock and the conversion of appropriate larger buildings into rentable accommodation. This fund would be gradually replenished by collection of a proportion of council rents and the remaining council rent would go to the council to ensure maintenance of property, future building and the provision of community projects for youth and the elderly.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

House prices are far too high and dictated by the market. It is difficult to control this but if there was improvement to supply side and a cooling of demand through higher availability coupled with laws restricting the purchasing of largely empty large tracts of land or buildings as investments or offshore tax avoidance schemes for overseas corporations and individuals, we would see a cooling of the house as a commodity rather than a home.

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 would support a rent tax, no breaks for buy to let investors and an increase in the part local authorities play in the social housing and rented sector. £27 billion is a huge sum and if a larger proportion of this went through the books of local authorities it would benefit the wider society rather than a few wealthy individuals.

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

organisation: CISTA

The drug laws have not been reviewed for so long it is now time to take a long hard look at them. Draconian and old laws are leading to increased crime and overloaded prisons. The laws need reforming as a matter of urgency.