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Live webchat with Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Monday 26 March, 12.30 pm

(88 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 25-Mar-12 20:52:09

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.

Yay - Rachel Reeves remembers me! I was convinced she'd call me a fruitloop and summon security grin

Thanks for answering my question; it's good to see research is being done. Would LOVE to see you leading that party instead of any kind of Miliband!

(In Surrey now. Hi to your sister too! I've just remembered all the letters on homemade marbled paper grin)

Just catching up with then part of this - really good webchat I think. Thanks HQ and thanks Rachel.

MrsHenryWood Mon 26-Mar-12 14:01:46

Thanks Rachel; although you missed the point of my 1st question; I am actually in favour of a 50% tax rate, and would also not have reduced it.

My issue was about the attitude towards people who are paying this rate, and how increasingly alienating I increasingly find it as a Labour voter.

But best of luck with the whole Chief Secretary thing - would be great to see you there in 2015 smile

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Mon 26-Mar-12 13:48:18

Thanks Rachel ! Very interesting ! You made my day smile

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 26-Mar-12 13:46:05

many thanks for your excellent answers Rachel. i hope it won't be too long before you get a chance to put things into practice smile.

BoffinMum Mon 26-Mar-12 13:45:27

Thank you Rachel. Very good webchat. Get MNHQ to ask you back sometime for more!!!

BoffinMum Mon 26-Mar-12 13:44:31

If people could stop being rude, condescending and patronising towards mothers, stigmatising them when convenient, or moaning about their role and describing it as a 'lifestyle choice' up there with acquiring a dog or an expensive new car, that would be a great start. (I cannot believe I am having to type that in the 21st century, by the way).

It's enough to make you put your Fawcett Society t-shirt on.

Pooka Mon 26-Mar-12 13:43:54

Probably too late for the chat, but wanted to say that your father was my headmaster at primary school! He was absolutely brilliant, and he must be incredibly proud of how well you are doing.

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:43:17

OK, that's the end of my session now. Can I just say thank you to everybody for all your questions and ideas. And a special hello to Louise (mumsnetter and on maternity leave from my office)!

Please invite me back again! And if you've got nothing else to do at c.9.20pm this evening, tune in to the parliament channel.


RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:40:45

He was even worse when the camera was off!...


Hello Rachel

How on earth did you cope with David Starkey on QT recently?!

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:39:25

I would like to see a tax on bankers' bonuses of 50%, which would raise £2bn to fund 25,000 affordable homes as well as supporting 100,000 young people into employment.

When in Government, Labour increased the number of affordable homes to its highest level. One policy that I thought was hugely helpful was shared ownership schemes that helped people on to the housing ladder even if they didn't have massive deposits. This government has cut the affordable housing budget by 60% making it harder for young people to get on the housing ladder.

I also support the mansion tax if it is used to help people on more modest and middle incomes. I think it is disappointing that the government didn't go ahead with that last week. Another missed opportunity to provide a bit of support to families.


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?

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Mon 26-Mar-12 13:37:12

Yes, BM - As I said they/we will get in back in spades anyway - So what are we waiting for !!

Spiritedwolf Mon 26-Mar-12 13:36:37

Thanks for your answer Rachel.

I do think it is important though that family friendly policies aren't all about childcare (though it is of course important). Parents who make the decision to look after their children themselves are also doing valuable work, no less so because it is unpaid.

I think that we need to think of some way of supporting parents who stay at home and carers for the valuable, unpaid work they do.

iseenodust Mon 26-Mar-12 13:36:05

What do you think of the fact it seems that the majority of the new Police Commissioners will be ex-MPs or aspirant politicians eg Brian Paddick?

<2nd question fair because you answered someone else's on regional pay grin>

BoffinMum Mon 26-Mar-12 13:35:05

Just spend da money, people!

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:33:22


Also, on the child benefit, as well as the dual/single income anomaly, there is still the basic unfairness that HRT payers with children are being hit for thousands of pounds a year, whilst HRT payers without children are not hit at all.

Totally agree, families with children are being much harder hit than any other group.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Mon 26-Mar-12 13:31:21

Great post, BoffinMum - good quality and free is what you/we want ! But well resourced enough to pay a respectful, living wage, to those that provide the care and education to the children too !

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:30:07


My DH and I tried to concieve for many years before I finally became pregnant with our first baby, we are delighted, of course.

Unfortunately the delay in conception has meant that our baby is coming into being at a time when the government of the day seems to think it appropriate that young families pay for the collapse of the private financial sector. The loss of:

The Health in Pregnancy Grant
Government payments into a Child Trust Fund
Reductions in Child (Baby?) Tax Credits and restrictions in those qualifying for them
The end of universal Child Benefit

No doubt there are other things I haven't factored in (funding for Sure Start centres?), reduction in Childcare element of WTC, changes that affect parents who rely on housing benefit etc.

As new parents begin families under this child-hostile government, what would Labour do to improve the lives of our children under a future Labour government?

Congratulations Spiritedwolf - you're right there was a lot more support with Labour, which I believe made it a little bit easier for parents trying to juggle work and family life. I think it's a shame we've gone back, I'm proud of the things we did in government and as I said earlier I think help for childcare has to be central to Labour's manifesto in 2015

BoffinMum Mon 26-Mar-12 13:28:36


BoffinMum Mon 26-Mar-12 13:27:46

I research stuff like this all day long with my academic hat on, and after 20 years of considering the question, here's my policy input.

We can never have true equality, or prosperity, until childcare is practically free.

My reasoning? Charging people for childcare is about as useful as charging them school pence in the 19th century for attending school, and then wondering why the population remains illiterate and low-skilled. By charging people for the privilege of going to work, we keen talented women down and class divisions firmly entrenched.

So make it happen, as they say. wink

maresedotes Mon 26-Mar-12 13:27:39

Hello Rachel

How on earth did you cope with David Starkey on QT recently?!

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:26:33

My husband bought be an iPad for Xmas at no cost to taxpayers!


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?

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Mon 26-Mar-12 13:26:06

Thank you ! That's an interesting invitation - I might write to you. Meanwhile as you and I both mentioned I think looking to the Scandinavian countries approach to child care and early years education is a great place to start !

RachelReevesMP Mon 26-Mar-12 13:25:47


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).

1. Yes!!
2. I think the government are wrong to cut children's centres and the government's move to cut the childcare element of the working tax credit was really a step in the wrong direction, because as you point out in 3, it can also be really bad news for the economy.

As a friend of mine said to me at the weekend - it's completlely ridiculous that after the state invested so much in her education she now can't use her skills while her two children are young and needing childcare. It's good for the economy and good for families if childcare needs are met.

LindsayWagner Mon 26-Mar-12 13:25:19

Interesting - Number 10 have just published the list of Leader's Group donors who got a closer look at Samantha's Corian splashback.

I think - thanks for asking - that the public would be more tolerant of increased state funding of political parties than you might think, if the rationale was expressed as being a direct attempt to reduce semi-corrupt practice. Problem is that neither party would prob be willing to express it that strongly, for obvious reasons.

Re unions: I think you're right that there's no need for a cap - as long as members make an explicit and voluntary decision to contribute. If that were the case, the union would simply be collecting many small individual donations, all of which would fall way under the cap. But where contribution is mandatory ...

I heart you too, by the way. Good luck.

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