Hannah Graham

party: Green Party
constituency: Middlesbrough

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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

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

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Green Party would support open source and bill of digital rights but rules out technology for technology’s sake if it hinders environmental aims

The Green Party has vowed to use technology to achieve its environmental policies and to oppose the use of mass surveillance if it is elected to power at the 2015 General Election on 7 May.

A digital bill of rights could be introduced, guaranteeing the right to privacy and control over personal data, while a policy of open data and a commitment to use open source IT would be implemented.

However the party’s manifesto warned that technology would not be pursued for technology’s sake or at any cost to the environment.

“Greens are pro-science. But just because science allows us to do something, that does not mean we should do it,” reads the document. “We need to balance our scientific and technological abilities against the social, economic and ethical consequences of doing them – including their impact on future generations and other species. Greens will support the development of technologies that have strong social, economic and environmental beliefs. That is why we support investment in energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy, which will be vital in helping to secure improvements in people’s quality of life and to combating climate change.”

The party committed to providing adequate government funding for technological research at the expense of military R&D and pledged to ensure innovation is not controlled by large corporations. The inevitable focus on renewable energy, emissions and conservation of a Green government would have an impact on technological manufacturing and data centres.

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

The Green Party seeks a balanced mix of housing tenures, to meet the diverse needs of the community. These include individual and shared home ownership, leasehold, and others. Disincentives to the speculative ownership of housing will be introduced, including higher rates of Council Tax for unoccupied properties and second homes. People must not be forced into home ownership because there is no alternative. The Green Party seeks to increase the amount of social housing and commonly owned housing as representing the best way of ensuring an availability of affordable housing.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

The Green Party is opposed to all forms of censorship in the media and cultural activities for adults. The state and persons holding positions of power to control activities shall not censor freedom of artistic expression or freedom of speech. Where there is a conflict between the right to free expression or speech and the responsibility not to cause offence this should be dealt with by allowing the offended person equal right of reply.

The Green Party recognises that not all freedoms may be appropriate for children. The Green Party would move to ban all advertising targeted at children of primary school age and under. A Green Government should also support teachers, parents and guardians in their efforts to protect children in their care from inappropriate material and may need to take action to reduce the likelihood of children accessing harmful material.

The Green Party recognises the right of citizens to enjoy privacy within their home and domestic activities. Where there is a conflict between the individual's right to privacy and legitimate public interest then the onus is on those claiming public interest to demonstrate their case. The Green Party recognises that an individual's actions in placing their private life in the public domain (for example politicians or celebrities inviting media attention) may undermine their right to privacy.

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

organisation: CISTA

The Green Party believe Cannabis would be removed from the 1971 Misuse of drugs act. The possession, trade and cultivation of cannabis would be immediately decriminalised, roughly following the Dutch model. The trade in Cannabis would be the subject of a Royal Commission (see below), with a view to establishing a fully legalised, controlled and regulated trade. Small-scale possession of drugs for personal use would be decriminalised. The starting point would be advice to policing authorities to caution rather than prosecute for offences of drug possession for personal use and to refer offenders to the health-care services (see DU411). Subsequently, regulations would be brought forward removing criminal sanctions for simple possession of controlled drugs for personal use. The recommended sentences for small-scale supply would be non-custodial options. The possession of pipes made for the use in connection with smoking of opium would no longer be a criminal offence. A Royal Commission or similar body would be established to review currently controlled drug classifications, within a legalised environment of drug use. This commission would, after wide consultation, consider and recommend frameworks of social, economic and health conditions for drug use and supply.

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

It is important to review, and reevaluate, the availability of hospice and other palliative care to those with all diagnoses and conditions. Palliative care policy promotes provision of palliative care to all those with end of life conditions and diseases such as stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, end stage heart disease, end stage lung conditions, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other terminal conditions and diseases. Palliative care should be available for deaths wherever they occur - in own home, care homes, hospital, hospices and wherever death occurs in the UK.

Sufficient emotional support should be available to those who surround people who are dying. This would include staff working in palliative care, friends, relatives and formal and informal carers.

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

The private rented sector has a role in meeting housing need, particularly in areas with prohibitively high house prices, for those unable or unwilling to borrow money, for people on low incomes who do not qualify for socially provided housing and for short term accommodation. This sector needs to have rents controlled and tenants provided with additional legal protection.

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, All new houses should be built to improved standards for accessibility, space and facilities, ergonomics, sound and thermal insulation, and energy efficiency. Design standards shall also include consideration of social factors, such as the need for privacy and the need for community focal points. Existing buildings should be brought as near these standards as practical.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes, here is the Green party policy. Co-operative forms of home and land ownership and management would be supported and prioritised in housing strategies where they improve access to secure, long-term affordable homes. The cost and difficulty of registration will be reduced, and conveyancing and other regulations will be simplified. Community Banks will provide credit-rated tradable housing investment bonds to increase institutional and individual investment in housing co-operatives. (see EC668) As a result in the longer term, co- operative ownership models will supplant existing shared ownership models to prevent affordable house prices from rising faster than average incomes, complementing policies on Land Value Taxation that suppress housing market price rise