Robin Charles Ellison

party: The U(niversal) Party
constituency: Hampstead and Kilburn

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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)

This is a self-managing question. Law abiding people should of course be left in peace, we do not need the Stasi. But the big question is what powers should the state have to ensure that non-law-abiding people are spotted. we need reasonable checks and balances - and those checks and balances should not be managed by the state because history shows that they abuse their powers.

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

There is no problem in carers being able to be with people in hospital; it should save on the costs of nursing and caring. In practice few hospitals are equipped to allow such carers to be around, and few carers are registered or qualified and the usual checks on carers imposed by the CQC coud be applied. We should accept the risk of mistakes happening.

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

Controls have adverse and unintended consequences. They are the wrong answer to the right problem.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

Of course they are; the solution is reform of the planning laws.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

The general principle should be that access to information should be unrestricted; it is the joy of the internet. That freedom needs to be balanced, like any other freedom, with the rights of other people to be protected against for example defamation, and states to protect the security of the state. All freedoms in any free society are limited. The big issue is the question of balance, and who decides how to manage the balance.

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

There are already minimum standards; they might need reviewing from time to time. We need to balance the need to provide cost-effective housing at a price people can afford, with the need to ensure housing is humane. In practice the big problem is not ensuring standards are high enough, but that there is enough housing - and that needs reform of the planning system. And nimbys (including me) try to stop denser housing.

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 frictional costs of taxation and redistribution mean that it is a very inefficient system and leads to unintended and adverse consequences. Changing the planning system is a cheaper simpler and better way.

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 work with social housing; it is a horribly inefficient system to provide housing to those with modest incomes. There are better ways to solve the problem.

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

organisation: CISTA

Absolutely; the UK system of drug control is absurd and leads to adverse outcomes. In fact everyone knows what the right answer is without the need for a Royal Commission, but I looks to be political suicide. Eventually a government will emerge with the strength to remove all most the most obvious controls (eg restricting sales to those under age X). Such reforms would also contribute to the solution of the prison problems.