Rachael Roberts

party: Green Party
constituency: Berwick-upon-Tweed

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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

We will increase 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, as well as creating 35,000 jobs.

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 support the introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords, and setting minimum standards for housing would be one of the measures which such a scheme would set.

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 seek to abolish landlord tax deductions against a variety of expenditures, including mortgage interest relief. Ending mortgage interest tax relief alone will raise £5.8 billion a year, and this will be directly invested in building new social rented homes.

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 the introduction of smart rent control that caps annual rent increases linked to the Consumer Price Index. Between tenancies, I support abolition of letting agents’ fees and insurance-based deposit schemes which are an increasingly burdensome expense for new tenants.

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

organisation: CISTA

Yes - I would support the establishment of a Royal Commission or a similar body to review currently controlled drug classifications. This would adopt an evidence-based approach to the step-by-step regulation, starting with cannabis, of the drugs currently banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act as well as ‘legal highs’, with a view to introducing a system that reduces harm.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I oppose any case for secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden. I accept that government law enforcement agencies may occasionally need to intercept communications in specific circumstances, but such surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine parliamentary oversight.

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 - the case of the Scientology documentary "Going clear" which cannot be shown in the UK because of failure to implement the Defamation Act 2013 in Northern Ireland legislation, illustrates the need for devolved governments to follow the lead of England and Wales in creating a "serious harm" test which needs to be met before a libel case can proceed.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes - 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.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I believe we should support and protect Internet freedom. The censorship or takedown of content or activity should be limited to exceptional circumstances, clearly set out within a comprehensive legal framework.