Andy Brown

party: Green Party
constituency: Skipton and Ripon

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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)

There has to be a degree of surveillance but there also need to be tough scrutiny of that surveillance by genuinely independent bodies and there have to be still penalties for breaking the rules. I want to know if there is a terror plot. But equally I want to live in a free and open society which advertises the attractions of our way of life instead of destroying our freedoms in order to protect them.

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

This needs to be a right though obviously the relative may lose that right if there is evidence of behaviour which threatens the welfare of either the patient of the staff.

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. Strongly. Enforcement must not rely on the tenant themselves being brave enough to take on a landlord and put their home at risk.

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 is important that such social housing is built to high environmental standards to cut energy use.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I do not want groups of paedophiles being able to provide access to information on how to abuse children but I also don't want the state, or even worse, Google, defining what I am allowed to see. The fostering of violence against the vulnerable has to be the line. Supervision of that line has to be by a responsible independent body with the teeth and the speed of decision making to implement its rulings both to allow and to refuse access within 24 hours subject to appeal.

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

My answer on this is not a party line. I would say "No." It was tried in the 70s and failed. I do support rigorous laws on the conditions of tenancies and the banning of payments to agents of up front fees by tenants. I also reject seizing the assets of housing associations and giving them to the tenants. Finally, and most importantly, I support building more social and affordable housing but doing so primarily on brownfield sites. This will require strong planning laws and a degree of carefully targeted subsidy.

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

An appropriate balance between freedom of speech and protection against powerful people slandering the reputation of the weak must be maintained. Why would I assume that the English will be better at this than the Scots or Northern Irish.

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 determined by the market. But if you don't build enough houses and allow uncontrolled investment from footloose foreign money then you distort the market. It is possible to bring homes within affordable prices by building more of the right types of homes and changing the balance of supply and demand.

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

My inclination is yes. I would wish to look further into the risks of any reduction of homes on the market that might result. Careful work would need to be undertaking on empty homes policy first. I might begin to raise cash by taxing heavily the homes of anyone who lives in this country but pays their tax abroad. That might give us enough to get started on decent housing supply if used intelligently. I would also free up local authorities to lend to build without risk of then having the asset sold off cheap.

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

organisation: CISTA

This is not my party policy but I would sell drugs through chemist shops in controlled doses that displayed the risks. I would take the profit of drug sales off criminals and use it to treat drug addicts. You don't stamp out drugs by giving the nastiest elements of our society millions of pounds of incentive to sell horrible addictive substances to our children.