Mark Hollinrake

party: Green Party
constituency: Rochdale

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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.

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, so long as rent caps were in place so that tenants did not have to pay more rent.

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

organisation: CISTA

Yes.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I fully support the Green Party policy as stated below. Please forgive me if I just let you have this reply

National Security Agency (NSA) and Snowden, Whistle Blowing and Surveillance

The Green Party of England and Wales believes that illegal mass surveillance must be opposed. The Green Party will campaign against such surveillance and will act to protect whistle blowers such as Snowden who oppose illegal intrusion by the state.

The Green Party of England and Wales believes Edward Snowden should be granted political asylum in a European Union (EU) state of his choice. The United Kingdom (UK) government must take joint action with other states to protect its citizens and companies from espionage and mass surveillance including a parliamentary inquiry into the national security measures that abuse the privacy of the public.

The EU must press for the immediate completion of negotiations on a data protection framework agreement for the law enforcement sector between the EU and the US, before considering future trade and security treaties.

The current Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), Passenger Name Record (PNR) and Safe Harbour agreements between the US and the European Union should be suspended and then renegotiated. The European Court of Human Rights should check the alleged actions of intelligence services to determine if they are in breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Only illegal things should be restricted in anyway, including Rape, Sexual Violence, Bestiality, child cruelty, animal cruelty , are examples of things to be prevented from being seen. Apart from that, people should be able to access anything on the net.

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

By making sure there was enough facilities for carers to stay with patients. It should be the same principle as child and parent, if someone would benefit from having a carer, relative or friend stay with them, especially if it prevents the patient from becoming anxious, more ill etc.

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

Definitely. I support fully the fantastic policies of my party, the Greens. From page 44 of Green Manifesto

There is a place for a private rented sector. But experience shows that it needs to be well regulated and the difference in power
between landlord and tenant corrected. We would:
• Reform the private rented sector by introducing a ‘living rent’ tenancy (including five-year fixed tenancy agreements), smart rent
control that caps annual rent increases linked to the Consumer Price Index, security of tenancy and local not-for-profit letting
agencies, and abolishing letting agents’ fees and insurance-based deposit schemes.
• Set up a Living Rent Commission to explore whether controls could bring rents more in line with local average incomes.
• Introduce a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords.
• Abolish landlord perks, such as tax deductions against a variety of expenditures, including mortgage interest relief. Ending
mortgage interest tax relief alone will raise £5.8 billion a year.
• Increase the supply of small lets by raising the tax-free amount under the Rent a Room Scheme to £7,250 a year.
• Abolish the ‘bedroom tax’, which has saved less than £400 million a year. A Department for Work and Pensions report found that
more than half of affected tenants have cut back on essentials, and only 1 in 20 has downsized.
• Bring Housing Benefit for all age groups back in line with average market rents, so that it provides all citizens with the means to
meet their housing costs, costing £2.3 billion a year.
• Subject the Shared Accommodation Rate to a comprehensive review to ensure it reflects the real cost of renting
shared properties.
• Change the definition of affordable rented housing to depend on local median incomes and not on local market rents.

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

Absolutely. Please see Green Housing policy, which I fully support. Part of it below.

There is a place for a private rented sector. But experience shows that it needs to be well regulated and the difference in power
between landlord and tenant corrected. We would:
• Reform the private rented sector by introducing a ‘living rent’ tenancy (including five-year fixed tenancy agreements), smart rent
control that caps annual rent increases linked to the Consumer Price Index, security of tenancy and local not-for-profit letting
agencies, and abolishing letting agents’ fees and insurance-based deposit schemes.
• Set up a Living Rent Commission to explore whether controls could bring rents more in line with local average incomes.
• Introduce a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords.
• Abolish landlord perks, such as tax deductions against a variety of expenditures, including mortgage interest relief. Ending
mortgage interest tax relief alone will raise £5.8 billion a year.
• Increase the supply of small lets by raising the tax-free amount under the Rent a Room Scheme to £7,250 a year.
• Abolish the ‘bedroom tax’, which has saved less than £400 million a year. A Department for Work and Pensions report found that
more than half of affected tenants have cut back on essentials, and only 1 in 20 has downsized.
• Bring Housing Benefit for all age groups back in line with average market rents, so that it provides all citizens with the means to
meet their housing costs, costing £2.3 billion a year.
• Subject the Shared Accommodation Rate to a comprehensive review to ensure it reflects the real cost of renting
shared properties.
• Change the definition of affordable rented housing to depend on local median incomes and not on local market rents.

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. I support the Green party's policy on this, which by the end of the next parliament would mean an average of at least £5 Billion a year.

We would:
• Provide 500,000 social rented homes to high sustainability standards by increasing the social housing budget from £1.5 billion a
year to £6 billion a year in the lifetime of the Parliament, removing borrowing caps from local councils, and creating 35,000 jobs.
• Devolve Housing Benefit budgets to councils, so they can design packages that improve access to housing in their local market
and enable them to provide more council housing.
• End mass council house sales and the Right to Buy at a discounted price.
• Provide more rights for homeless people, giving local authorities the same duties with regard to single people and childless
couples as to families, and ending the practice of declaring people ‘intentionally homeless’. Aim to end rough sleeping completely,
and give public authorities a duty to prevent it.
• Oppose new arm’s length management organisations and ensure genuine tenant participation in existing ones.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes. Again I totally agree with Green Party policy, set out below.

House prices continue to rise quicker than wages and inflation, and first-time buyers find it almost impossible to buy a home. If wages
had gone up by as much as house prices since 1997, the average person would be earning almost £30,000 more a year.
When house prices crash there are consequences for the whole economy.
The Green Party will aim for house price stability by making property investment and speculation less attractive and by increasing
housing supply. We will:
• Give the Bank of England the powers it has requested 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 reforming the ‘wear and tear’ allowance.
• Introduce new higher Council Tax bands for more expensive homes, with higher rates for empty homes.
• Scrap the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which does nothing to help those in the greatest housing need and contributes to
excessive demand, saving £600 million a year.
• Take action on empty homes to bring them back into use. There are about 700,000 empty homes. Halve this number through
Empty Property Use Orders.
• Gradually phase out Stamp Duty Land Tax and consider a Land Value Tax.
• Minimise encroachment onto undeveloped ‘greenfield sites’ wherever possible by reusing previously developed sites that have
fallen into disuse.
Reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair work (including insulation) to 5%, costing £1.6 billion a year. At present there is no
VAT on constructing new dwellings but there is VAT at 20% on converting and renovating old buildings to be used as homes. This
encourages new building at the expense of saving land and using what we have.
Introduce the right to rent (where local councils step in to help those in difficulty with their mortgage to rent their home). One-third of
mortgage borrowers are expected to struggle if interest rates increase by 2%.
Break up the big builder cartels and diversify the house-building industry so that more homes are built by small- and medium-sized
builders and by community-led and cooperative initiatives. In the short term we would achieve this by measures including bringing
transparency to the land market, the transfer of public land into community land trusts, and parcelling big regeneration sites into smaller plots through the Custom Build model.