WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.
Live webchat with Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Monday 26 March, 12.30 pm(88 Posts)
Labour's shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves MP, is joining us for a webchat tomorrow, Monday 26th March, 12.30-1.30pm (just before she nips of to the Common's chamber to close the budget debate).
Rachel was elected to Parliament at the last general election, having previously worked as an economist for the Bank of England, the British Embassy in Washington and at Halifax Bank of Scotland and is regarded as one of Ed Miliband's high-flyers and a potential future leader of the labour party.
Rachel's keen to answer any of your questions: from tax credits to child benefit, personal allowances to pension age (and of course anything a bit more exciting in between).
As ever, if you can't join us live - do post a question in advance.
Petrol prices are killing us down here, rural tourist spot. Help! Cant join in as I am at work.
What is Labour's policy to minimise the impact of the houseing situation?
How is affordable houseing going to be made available to young people?
Are you considering rent caps, mansion tax, or building more homes?
Oooh exciting! Well first of all - I think you're fantastic Rachel - more power to your superbly well informed elbow and all that.
Enough grovelling - child benefit. Do you agree that the Government's proposed changes to the benefit will dospropotionately disadvantage women? What will Labour be doing to combat this proposed change?
At the risk of sounding stalkerish - hi, we were penfriends when we were 10! (Clue: I'm guessing the same teacher with a red beard taught us chess!) Serious congratulations on the career!
Embarrassed now. OK stalker bit over; I do have a question! I'm a teacher now and paying for childcare for two children - childcare vouchers have pretty much made it (just about) financially viable for me to work. However, the amount we can contribute tax-free has already been reduced - is this a scheme that the Government can no longer afford and would Labour plan to keep it? There must be thousands of parents out there with skills that would contribute to society who are finding it hard to afford to work.
Did that make sense? Will be at work tomorrow but hope the webchat goes well!
It looks like the Government is going to bring in legislation to encourage shared parenting post-divorce. Under the Child Maintenance Act that Labour brought in if separated parents have completely equal care of two children, and completely equal incomes, Dad still pays Mum 10% of his income and she gets to keep 100% of the Child Benefit. She gets over 20% more net income than him. Do you think this is fair and/or compliant with ECHR?
Ooo I like Rachel reeves.
What would you go to get more women into politics, at the top level as equals, rather than just token 'advisers' or 'babes'?
I have 1 question, and 1 point, hope that's ok.
We currently pay massive amounts of fuel duty. What lots of people don't realise is that we also pay VAT, both on the fuel, AND ON THE DUTY. So when the chancellor puts 3p on the fuel, that is actually 3.6p, because 20% VAT is charged on that 3p. Given that fuel prices have risen so extortionately this year, the treasury must be having a bumper year on fuel, with unanticipated VAT coming in. Do you think that VAT should be applied to fuel BEFORE the duty is applied? It really doesn't seem reasonable that we should have to pay VAT ON TAX.
Now my point;
Child Benefit - somewhere along the line, someone has decided that it is reasonable for higher rate taxpayers with children to shoulder a much higher deficit reduction burden than higher rate taxpayers without children. We are going to be paying a 72% marginal tax, when many people on much higher incomes without children are receiving a tax cut, because '50% is too high', and many other families on much higher incomes (up to 99k) are still receiving the full child benefit. If they suggested increasing the rates of income tax to the level that would be necessary to sting people for this much money, there would be an absolute revolt, but because it is a relatively small group of people, they don't seem to mind crippling them, because, hey, it's not that many votes.
Surely now it cannot raise much money, with the massive administration costs (500,000 more tax returns to process for example)!
So the point is, why is a FAMILY on HRT having to pay ££££ more than no-children household. (Remember Child Benefit was originally a tax allowance, hence why it is administered by HMRC, as recognition of higher costs of having children).
Do you think the granny tax is fair? Isn't it about time that the richest generation ever (ie the baby boomers) shouldered a bit more of the tax burden from their accumulated wealth in cash and assets?
As someone who worked for the Bank of England and HBOS in the years leading up to the financial crisis, did you see the crash coming? Did you think there was something fundamentally unsustainable about the culture of CDOs and all that jazz, or did you think it was all basically OK? Did you argue at the time for greater regulation of the financial sector?
I guess what I'm saying is - one of Labour's big problems on the economy is the perception that you (without wishing to be rude) were all in it up to your necks, whether in private banks, the Bank of England, the Treasury or actually within government, in the years leading up to the crash. How can people like you, E Miliband and Balls persuade us that you've understood where you, collectively, went wrong?
This cash-for-kitchen-suppers business is all very depressing, as much for its utter predictability as anything else.
While there is something peculiarly Tory about the gall of Maude et al's defence of the PM, it's fair to say that both Labour and the Conservatives have a ghastly track record in this area.
Both parties have effectively ignored the Phillips Inquiry and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, both of which recommended that there be a cap on donations (by unions as well as by individuals), and greater state funding of political parties.
It seems ludicrously naive to believe that any large donation made to a political party is not made in the hope of benefit to the donor. So why has Labour not pushed for these recommendations to be adopted? Is it simply because to do so would open the whole unions/individual dues can of worms, or is there a less self-serving rationale?
Ruth Kelly seemed to do more for childcare and extended hours at school than any other minister, and there was a great deal of progress on the family friendly front during her tenure as Secretary of State for Education.
1. Do you think we are going backwards now?
2. If we are, how would Labour move this on again if they got into power, given the constrained public purse?
3. Personally, do you think there is a link between national prosperity and women participating in paid work (I ask because so many Bank of England reports have indicated that there is, so it would seem that increasing affordable childcare could be one of the golden bullets to help the recovery).
Really trivial question (I promise to ask a cleverer one too), but why do so many politicians where their party's colours? Ie Danny Alexander or Nick Clegg in awful gold ties and (hate to say it) Rachel and other Labour women in red jackets. Its' not very subtle and when you have younger, more stylish politicians, surely their own taste should be allowed to break through?
<off to mug up on quantitative easing for a proper question>
I have traditionally voted Labour, but, having been lucky enough to have worked my way up to a high-paying job (50% tax-payer), am increasingly alienated by the Labour Party's hostile language and attitude towards people currently in this income bracket.
I would like to know whether the Labour party is still interested in getting my vote, or am I ultimately more useful as a scapegoat, gaining you political capital with the "squeezed middle"?
Not 50% tax anymore MrsHenryWood. Gideon's mugged some pensioners to knock 5% off that for you.
Another child benefit question: I gave up work to look after my kids, so am concerned that my National Insurance contributions won't be paid when we are no longer eligible for child benefit (husband earns over 60k).Or is the official policy to continue to claim it and my husband's tax code changes to give the equivalent amount of money back? Which seems a roundabout way of doing things!
Gawd. I can't even spell 'wear' properly!
I'm a SAHM mum of 2ds' my husband is a hrtp and we will lose around 10% of our cb. In September I am going back into education full time and our childcare costs will be c. £1k /month. Would the labour party consider making cb a universal credit or reintroducing transferable tax allowance for married or long term co-habiting couples. (I would include those in civil partnerships also.)
50% for the next year, NarkedPuffin. But thank you for perfect demo of attitude and language that I was referring!
Fuel, Fuel, Fuel
It's really killing us here, why aren't Labour tackling the government harder on this? It should be a priority at the moment, diesel was at 148.2 this morning! It is utterly unsustainable for normal people to carry on like this, its all well and good expecting people to take public transport, but that is not a solution for those of us who are rural.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Also what do you make of the discussion this evening about the recommendation that all MP's be issued with a free ipad at a cost of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer?
Given that the MP's salary is much higher than the average isn't it slightly gross that the taxpayer is expected to fund an ipad for each and every MP?
Do you think that the speed and severity of the cuts risk damaging public services and stalling the economy?
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