Steve Hakes

party: Christian Peoples Alliance
constituency: Dewsbury

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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)

I have not mastered surveillance law. I assume if folk aren’t being naughty, they shouldn’t mind being on CCTV in public places. Private messages should be private, unless the state has good reason to suspect the conversations to be immoral (eg terrorist). I place the emphasis on individual freedoms, rather than on Big Brother control.

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.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

I do not know, though support certain helps to first time buyers, as well as for renters. I have been both.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I am inclined to go for open rights, except where suspicion about morals is warranted (a nuclear bomb next door is not desirable, nor terrorist training).

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

organisation: CISTA

I do not know whether a RC is needed, but do not think legalising cannabis is good.

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

Unsure whether these examples are equal: presumably the former is usually short-term, and the latter usually long-term. The NHS is already over-loaded; could the private sector buy up nearby houses, for rental to carers? "What you do for one" can be a dangerous position to adopt. I would like hospitals to offer free parking for genuine delivery of the ill, and for those who visit them, while coming down hard on any who abuse parking. They should not be a visiting tax.

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

Probably all should have the same protection, but it is moot as to which standard to adopt across the board - Scottish or English? But any Westminster decision should have the majority backing of Scotland & NI.

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

Assuming the set rent is fair, any rise should presumably be in line with inflation. Though how should inflation be defined? If house prices, should rent decrease/increase commensurately with house prices (locally measured), or on general CPI? I oppose the idea that once a tenant is hooked, they can be milked for all they are worth: fairness is the name of the game - our neighbour is also in God's image. Where rent is substantially below a fair rent, I support reasonable notification of intent to increase to a fair rent, with independent assessment as to what is fair and leeway given for genuine special needs.

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 tackle issues which fuel the need for more housing, such divorce which can fracture households, unbalanced immigration, and high population growth particularly among non-white ethnicities. A balanced society returned to healthy marriage will reduce unhealthy building. However, social housebuilding might need to increase until better measure kick in.

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 do not know, but I would first wish to know the net profit figure, not simply the gross figure. Being a landlord did not make me rich, but some will milk the system (ie minimise digs, maximise rent). Secondly, I would wish to consider where any such tax put its money. Thirdly, I would wish to reduce immoral profiteering in the rental sector.