Benjamin Gravestock

party: Green Party
constituency: North West Leicestershire

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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

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. Although Green Party policy would be to build social housing which would hopefully reduce the quantity of housing benefit funds being paid to private landlords.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

There are areas where information held by States or Organisations needs to be protected; I do not believe that we as individuals necessarily have a right to know everything.

Having said that, I think that there need to be very strong safeguards and oversight in place to make sure that those areas are properly justified.

It is important, also, to note that the proper protection of intellectual property rights is a major concern to many, and that whilst a free and open internet is desirable in many ways, there must be a corresponding respect for those producing the content, information and ideas therein.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

The existing surveillance law is a strong one; having used RIPA myself in my former role as a police officer, the justification for intrusion has to be properly argued with good evidence to back it up.

On a wider basis, I fully recognise that 'drag-net' capture of communications information is a sensitive issue.

Personally, I would rather we missed a clue in comms between members of a terrorist cell, and protected other citizens' privacy.

But it's a hard argument to have to make to the relatives of those potentially killed in the subsequent attack.

This issue will define the next ten years of our society, but it is a battle that those on the side of personal privacy are losing.

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

I agree that there should be provision for this.

We need to think carefully about how we can adapt and improve our patient care for dementia sufferers. Currently, hospitals are not set up to cater for it, and when research shows that sufferers often struggle in unfamiliar surroundings, we perhaps need to set up specific facilities that can allow the creation of a tailored 'home-like' environment, where loved ones can be deeply involved in assisting in care.

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

Definitely.

Landlords generally do extremely well out of owning property; Yields can be extremely high, and if they are unscrupulous, then their profits can skyrocket.

Ultimately, however, they have a duty to those who rent their property, and it is not acceptable to leave people living in squalor for want of proper maintenance.

Better regulation is needed to ensure that landlords meet this obligation - not least because neglected properties have a deeply negative impact on the wider area, not just those who live in them.

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 are too high in many parts of the country. On the other hand, they are too low in others.

The whole market needs rebalancing in terms of supply and demand, also.

The only way to do this is to dramatically increase the number of homes being built, and to implement policies incentivising and supporting the deprived areas, whilst cutting policies that reinforce the economic dominance of the South-East and lead to the perpetuation of the housing bubble there.

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 think that the market can regulate this. If we had a properly functioning housing market, rent limits would not be necessary.

In the meantime, it is something that could be looked at but I would be wary of committing one way or another.

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

organisation: CISTA

Yes.

Our drug laws are outdated and not sufficiently science based.

I am not necessarily 'pro-legalisation' - I have seen too many consequences of drug use to be comfortable with legalisation calls. But a proper review would be helpful and offer much-needed clarification.