Nick Yeomans

party: Independent
constituency: Brighton, Pavilion

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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, the law must be the same across the UK

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

No, I don't believe in rent control. This would deter landlords from investing and repairing their properties. As and when rent controls are relaxed/abolished, the rents would increase drastically. This happened with price control in the 1970s. The best way to control rents is to build more social housing.

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

Yes, I believe that carers of people with dementia should remain with the cared for person in hospital, and I would enshrine this by amending the care act.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

I do not support the surveillance of the electronic communication of the entire population. This would be a propaganda victory for the terrorists, as it would undermine freedom. We must utilise the expertise of our intelligence services to target the activities of those liable to perpetrate atrocities.
I believe we should use intercept evidence in court, to speed up terror trials, which would mean that detention without trial could be reduced from 90 days; I'd like to see it fall to 14 days.

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. This is the other side of the coin for not implementing rent controls and taxes

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

No, as this would lead to landlords selling their properties, and deter landlords from making rental properties available. Such a tax would reduce rental housing stock, and increase rents.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes. When the price of any other commodity rises, this is seen as an economic cost.
The answer is to build more housing (as outlined in my answer to the social housing question), to stabilise rents and house prices. Also, we should prevent migrants from using social housing until EU referendum, which I would bring forward to October 2015. We must control immigration, so we can reduce demand

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

organisation: CISTA

I would go further. I would legalise cannabis for medical use, due to its pain relieving qualities.
For someone who has used drugs, and provided it is a first offence, that they have not been pushing drugs, and there is no other offence, they should be offered rehab treatment as an alternative to prison. Prison often exacerbates drug use, and such a policy would free up prison places. We should punish the pushers, more than the users.

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 am committed to implementing Shelters plan to build 200,000 social housing units by 2020. This will cost £12 billion, and would be financed by QE, just 1/30th of the QE invested in the banks. This is possible due to record low interest rates, and will drive a stake into the heart of deflation. It will also reduce the housing benefit bill, as social housing rents are cheaper. It will also create high skilled construction jobs, and boost income tax revenues.
Currently, VAT on new build is zero rated, but is levied at 20% on renovating buildings. I would reduce this to 10%, funded by privatising BBC as free TV licenses for over 75s would not be needed.
Council and housing association tenants should have the right to buy, provided that the proceeds are reinvested in building and renovating social housing stock. This will create a virtuous circle of renewal of social housing stock. It will also stabilise rents and house prices, to make housing more affordable.