WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. See full guidelines here.

Gordon Brown on Mumsnet this Friday (16th October) lunchtime between 1-2 pm

(1058 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Oct-09 13:21:13

We're delighted to announce that the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will be logging on to Mumsnet for a live webchat on Friday (tomorrow) lunchtime from 1 to 2. The PM is ready to answer Mumsnetters' questions on a wide-range of policy issues from the economy to education and from childcare to climate change.

As you know we're not great ones for rule books here at MNHQ, but we'd like this to be as useful and enlightening an event as it can be, for all involved. We aren't going to pre-moderate or pre-select questions - the format will be as per usual - but given the likely popularity of this webchat, the sheer number of you all and our past experience of trying to fit everything in, we've come up with a few ground rules which we'd be very grateful if you'd follow.

Guidelines for MN webchat with PM

1. To allow as many folks as possible to be involved, please restrict your questions to one per member plus a follow up question if appropriate, i.e. once you've had a response. (NB don't even think about name changing to ask another, we'll be watching!).

2. Please keep your question reasonably brief (we'll not doing a word count but it will increase your chance of getting an answer, we suspect, if you don't bang on for paragraphs)

3. It's highly unlikely he'll be able to answer everyone's question but we'll make every effort to bring common themes to his attention. Please don't be too disappointed if your specific question doesn't get answered and do try not to keep posting "What about me?". He can't answer them all and he is the PM after all - so has a quite few time constraints.

4. Obviously you're free to voice your opinion but do be civil/polite - the PM is our guest on Mumsnet so, whatever your politics, please afford him the same cordiality you would if he stopped by your own house.

Many thanks - feel free to put your question up in advance if you can't make the live chat on Friday lunchtime.

LilRedWG Thu 15-Oct-09 13:23:01

Good rules!

BonsoirAnna Thu 15-Oct-09 13:23:15


Well done MNHQ!

squeaver Thu 15-Oct-09 13:24:33

No way!!

Ed Balls obviously put in a good word!

snice Thu 15-Oct-09 13:24:41

<<tries to think of something clever>>

lankyalto Thu 15-Oct-09 13:24:55

Brilliant MNHQ! What a coup.

heartofgold Thu 15-Oct-09 13:25:22

good lord! really?

I have no idea what I'd like to ask, but congrats MN!

VinegARGHHHtits Thu 15-Oct-09 13:25:40

oh well done

<goes off to think of a sensible Q to ask the PM>

Do you think he will 'get' my name

<wonders if Gordon was ever a fan of PCBH>

scarletlilybug Thu 15-Oct-09 13:26:08

I'll look forward to it.
Let's hope GB is a quick typist, so he can answer lots of questions.

monkeysavingexpertdotcom Thu 15-Oct-09 13:26:28

That's brilliant! I love Gordon Brown. Won't be here for webchat though sad. Noone be horrid to him now.

ShutUpandDrinkYourGin Thu 15-Oct-09 13:29:31

I look forward to the prime minister writing 'Dear VinegarTits...'

Hassled Thu 15-Oct-09 13:30:37

Yay! Well done MNHQ. Will have to see if I can be quite as obsequious and toadying as I was to Ed Balls.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 13:30:41

I can't be here. sad

But, I would like to know how the government actually believes that replacing Trident does not invalidate any of our international agreements on nuclear non-proliferation.

I would also like to know why they increased the provision of 2.5 free hours of nursery care for two year olds when there aren't enough places for 3 year olds yet. I also don't understand why the free provision can't happen on the same day making it easier for parents to go back to work part-time for 2 days a week [with their 12.5 hours on those 2 days]

I look forward to his reply grin

Dear TerryWogansCock.....

squeaver Thu 15-Oct-09 13:31:49

If we're all nice and play by the rules maybe we could ask something in return: that he (or whoever's doing the typing) answers the questions directly and avoids going straight into policy-spout mode.

AitchTwoToTangOh Thu 15-Oct-09 13:32:54

Well done. I like him, I think he's decent. Flawed, but who isn't? And his wife seems lovely. So there you have it, nothing policy-related, just a vote of confidence. smile

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 13:32:59


Why didn't the PM end up with a career in education since he always seems so happy when chatting to children but less so as PM? Has he thought about teaching secondary school when he [eventually] retires?

AitchTwoToTangOh Thu 15-Oct-09 13:33:59

apparently he has, sgsmum, he said so recently.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 13:35:24

[apologises for going over agreed question limit but the teacher- career question always bugs me when I see him chatting to teenagers]

Oh no! I will be in a meeting/on a train then. sad

Brilliant news, and glad he's coming on to talk to us. But does he know what he's let himself in for?!

squeaver Thu 15-Oct-09 13:39:59

yes I like Sarah too. Maybe she could come for a web chat too?

BonsoirAnna Thu 15-Oct-09 13:40:00

My question for Gordon Brown:

What kind of secondary school would you like your son John to attend?

I like him, I met him at Old Moat Sure Start cetre earlier this year

Hassled Thu 15-Oct-09 13:42:19

I would like to ask if GB agrees that public perception of individual politicians is as important as policy when it comes to how people vote in an election. If yes, how can that be changed? How can you persuade the public to look beyond the possibly misleading media portrayal of a public figure?

NotSoRampantRabbit Thu 15-Oct-09 13:43:07

I'd like to know whether there is any intention to review the age at which children start school? When I were a lass you started school in the term of your 5th birthday and therefore started with a group of your peers. At 4.3 years DS is very young (I feel) for school, but I didn't want to keep him back and have him start on his own in January/April. The evidence seems to suggest that summer born children are less likely to achieve their potential. What's your view?

<excited at opportunity to interrogate PM>

He said he liked my childrens names grin ad was talking to DH about star wars hmm

Paolosgirl Thu 15-Oct-09 13:47:43

He's brave.

I would like to ask him if he really plans to scrap Employer Supported Childcare Vouchers, and if so, why? They help thousands of families to meet the ever-increasing cost of childcare, allow women with children to continue to work, and help the economy to grow - crucial, given the current economic climate. Why, when over 44,000 have signed a No. 10 e-petition asking him NOT to phase these out, would he continue to press ahead? Providing 2 hrs a day of nursery places to some 2 year olds is simply robbing more of Peter to pay less of Paul.

I'd also like to ask him how he can hold his head up in public, but that's for another day - and the ballot box.

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 13:48:45

How exciting! I need to think of a brilliantly incisive question to ask...

alwayslookingforanswers Thu 15-Oct-09 13:51:05

No questions to ask - but just told DH you've managed to get him and DH said " you just need Obama now"........so when are MNHQ going to get him on for a chat wink

megapixels Thu 15-Oct-09 13:55:27

OMG is this for real? Can't think of anything to ask yet, too excited. Whoo hoo Gordon Brown.

*is amazed at how sad she sounds*

fabhead Thu 15-Oct-09 13:57:29

I owuld also like to ask why on earth he is getting rid of childcare vouchers - most women I know couldn't have returned to work without them.

wow I'm impressed!
off to think of a question

Sallypuss Thu 15-Oct-09 13:58:03


What a coup! Really looking forward to the webchat.

My question in advance:

What are the Labour party doing to encourage the stability of the family and hard working people like myself? I feel this is at the heart of so many of the country's current issues i.e. there is no incentive to marry any more from a tax or any other perspective; divorce is much easier; hard working families just see their incomes eroded to support those who don't work; childcare vouchers which are a lifeline to so many will be scrapped.

Oh, and if you could get his policy makers to stop villifying working mothers I'd appreciate that too as how are we ever going to get real equality until we have that(some of us have to work as we're the only breadwinner in the household!!!)

francaghostohollywood Thu 15-Oct-09 13:59:48

Oh well done MNHQ!

I like GB. And I like Hassled's question.

On a more superficial note, I really wonder how embarassing it is for most English politicians to meet the prime minister of my country, Mr Berlusconi grin

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:00:46

Gordon, would you consider a windfall tax on banks? Considering the generosity of the tax-payer in bailing out and propping up the entire banking system last year, shouldn't some of the profits be socialised if the losses were?

Do you agree with Mervyn King that too big to fail is simply too big when it comes to banks?

How do you feel about Sarah's popularity on Twitter? Is she a mumsnetter? smile

How can we justify engaging in armed conflict in Afghanistan to prop up a corrupt and inhumane regime?

How do you, on a personal level, deal with the relentless barrage of hostile media coverage you have to put up with? Does your family get upset about it on your behalf?

What would you do differently if you were starting over with tax credits?

Thank you very much for coming to Mumsnet to answer our questions.

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:01:33

scrapping childcare vouchers! shock

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:02:36

please, please answer the one on windfall tax! smile

i think it would win you the election you know! smile

<<abandons serious professional demeanour>>

TheCrackFox Thu 15-Oct-09 14:03:27

I would like to ask him about ID cards. Are we still going ahead with this in spite of the fact that we cannot afford them?

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:04:05

i will say this - i am so, so glad it was gordon brown and alistair darling in charge last october and not david cameron and george osborne.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Oct-09 14:05:21

Don't forget the one question each rule folks - otherwise you're liable to only get the one answered you least want answered iyswim...

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 14:05:41

I bet Sarah is a MNer bossykate

<<waves to Sarah>>

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 14:07:48

[ponders who Sarah might be - sniggers at thought of those she couldn't be but waves too]

ajandjjmum Thu 15-Oct-09 14:08:20

Please please please reduce the red-tape in small businesses, so that we can work productively to survive, not worrying about form filling etc. The promise keeps being made, but is not being honoured.

TheBatterflyEffect Thu 15-Oct-09 14:09:37

Dear Gordon Brown,
My husband is a student, and I am a stay-at-home mum. He is exempt from council tax, but I have to pay. At the moment, the only 'income' I have is child tax credits (thanks! they got my daughter and I through my degree) and child benefit.

Would you ever consider receiving the full amount of tax credits as something that could exempt you from council tax, or is the only way out of it registering as unemployed and making myself available for magical imaginary work that I can fit around caring for my children, and that isn't some kind of dirty phone line?

LoveBeingAMummy Thu 15-Oct-09 14:12:19

Dear Gordon

I am a fall out of the banking crisis, a manager in a bank call centre who was made redundant a few months after returning from mat leave, that bank is 70% owned by the tax payer. Not only that but i was also duped by Sir Fred into giving more money whilst i was on mat leave.

My question is banking is all i have done, I don't have a degree, my husband was made redundant just after our daughter was born and is now employed through an agency.

What advice do you have for me and my family?

And why am I paying and Fred is not?

BobbingForPeachys Thu 15-Oct-09 14:16:00

Well done MN- wow!

1. Carers- your thoughts please? Also why can't students get carer's allowance? Does your party think care needs drop when an adult tries to study?

3. DLA administerd by Social Services as is planned with Attendance Allowance- bad idea, not enough social workers and too narrow definitions of what constitutes a disability being used (my aggressive son with Aspegers not coverd for example), whereas DLA is totally needs based and one of the very few fair (ish) systems in place when properly applied.

4. ID cards, bad idea. Save the money and reap the publcity.

Good luck at the election- you'll need it but I will have my fingers crossed for you. As a carer I feel far less vulnerable under Labour.

Swedes2Turnips0 Thu 15-Oct-09 14:16:19

I'd like to ask Gordon Brown if the so called Loch Fyne Accord ever really happened?

Bossykate - The government wasn't just bailing out banks though. It was bailing out banks to avert much wider failure - small, medium and large busineses that would have inevitably struggled and failed had the bank been allowed to fail.

daftpunk Thu 15-Oct-09 14:16:48

how confident are you that Labour can win an historic fourth term in power...?

thank you.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 15-Oct-09 14:17:25

'Kinell. He knows he's gonna lose the election but that we are Agenda Setters. Or summat?

Must put it in diary so as not to FORGET.

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:18:31

i read the economist, thanks, swedes wink

BobbingForPeachys Thu 15-Oct-09 14:24:01

5. Is there a link between talk of an increased police state, me asking more than the allowed number of questions and my PC shutting down immediaely after I posted them? wink

(amnd if you answer that isntead of my others I will vote Lib Dem or something instead, it was a joke I promise!)

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Thu 15-Oct-09 14:27:04

Blimey - well done MNHQ.

I'm going to think of a good and intelligent question just so he can answer to 'MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours' grin

Swedes2Turnips0 Thu 15-Oct-09 14:27:21

Gordon, would you consider a windfall tax on banks? Considering the generosity of the tax-payer in bailing out and propping up the entire banking system last year, shouldn't some of the profits be socialised if the losses were?

Bossykate - well then you'll know that during the good years the government netted billions and billions in tax revenues from these institutions. The gov didn't question their risky behaviour then. You should be asking GB why he didn't set any money aside as we all know markets can go down as well as up. And the taxpayer didn't prop up the entire banking system. Barclays and HSBC, amongst others, received no government assistance whatsoever.

policywonk Thu 15-Oct-09 14:28:02

Prime Minister, David Freud's changes to the incapacity benefit system have resulted in great distress and alarm among some very vulnerable members of our society, particularly those with acute physical or mental disabilities. Claimants report that representatives of ATOS, the private company that is assessing people's claims, are simply not sufficiently trained. Tens of thousands of ESA claimants are having their benefit stopped, sometimes for weeks at a time, before the ATOS ruling is overturned on appeal.

I'd like to hear your views on the suitability of ATOS to carry out this work, and it would be fantastic if you would undertake to look closely at its performance, and make changes if necessary.

And this isn't a question, but I'd like to congratulate you warmly on the fantastic achievements of DFID over the last 12 years. You, Clare Short, Hilary Benn and Douglas Alexander deserve a sustained round of applause.

GordonBrown Thu 15-Oct-09 14:38:37

Testing, testing 1-2-3

<<Tis I, JustineMumsnet>>

MusterMix Thu 15-Oct-09 14:39:04

oh shit oyu beat me to it Justine

AitchTwoToTangOh Thu 15-Oct-09 14:39:22

woo-hoo! well done for getting this, justine!

AitchTwoToTangOh Thu 15-Oct-09 14:40:24

second swedes' windfall tax on banks. a mahoosive vote winner as well.

MusterMix Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:14

I have a question.

Gordon, I am a magistrate in a small market town. We see the effects of a drink based culture all the time in violence and disorder.

It has got so bad that certain parts of the town are a no go for non drinkers after 10pm at night.

What are you going to do about it apart from increasing pub booze prices? and dont say ANYTHING about more flipping fixed penalties please... Or cuts to HMCS.


FABIsInTraining Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:28

I accept it is my choice to stay at home and look after my husband and my children, but why is it we would be better off if we split up? sad

And if you feel that isn't the case (DH is a FD btw) why is there no tax breaks for full time mums from their husbands?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:40

Dear PM,

What do you think of Willetts' claim that you have dashed the hopes of a generation by not opening up University places this year? The Universities are ready to teach the students, the students want to come, your own policy aspires to increase the number of young people in higher education.

Resolving this issue, surely, is a clear vote winner for you, and for the millions of families for whom education is a route to wider horizons.

imaginestrictlytwirlynamehere Thu 15-Oct-09 14:44:21

Prime Minister, Should anything be done to ensure that politicians can get on with governing the country in a fair & consistent manner without having to spend an ever increasing amount of time (& money) on media relations & spin? Would it not be easier to have more referendums rather than constantly responding to attacks on policy by journalists who very often have their own agendas rather than the interests of the general public?
Do you think that the media portrayal of your time in office has been fair & balanced?

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 14:48:46

Wow! We're spoilt now.

So, first off many thanks for everything Labour has done for the LGBT community. Really, huge, massive thanks. You have helped ensure that our kids will grow up with the same legal rights as all other kids and that, as parents, we have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. You can't put a price on that and a lifetime of voting for you will only just begin to pay it back. You have to stop invading countries though.

So, I think it's time for PR and more local involvement in the national agenda, what are your thoughts on that?

Also, why can't MPs telephone and video conference and vote remotely? It would save a fortune, improve the work/life balance and get more women into parliament.

Will choose which question to use if I make it tomorrow.

TantieTowie Thu 15-Oct-09 14:49:36

Just one question here:

I'm self-employed and need to have childcare in order to work. Why can't my childcare costs be treated as a claimable expense on my tax return? - they are, after all, a necessary cost for me to be able to work.

I believe changing this situation would make a great deal of sense not only for me, but for many of those who are now starting out as freelancers or self-employed workers following redundancy.

In the light of the great expenses scandal, it seems particularly unfair that childcare must be paid for from my profit (or our profit - my husband is also self-employed) when as a tax payer I've been financing duck houses, moat - and house - cleaning for our elected representatives.

RnB Thu 15-Oct-09 14:49:49

wow - well done MN!

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 14:51:28

SGM, our nursery school will try to offer the 15 hours over three days, in fact I think they have to offer that next year. That'd suit us better than 2.5 hours every day but I'm happy even with that. It's good for DS and gives us a break.

escape Thu 15-Oct-09 14:51:41

I'd like to know the Prime Ministers thoughts on the increasing 'Under Class' society we see across the UK. There are teenagers leaving school with no intention of working for a living, (and why would they, their own parents, and possibly even grandparents didn't either). There is a very obvious 'moral decline' within the Uk, and it saddens me greatly.

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:52:17

no aitch, it was my suggestion for a windfall tax <<economic and political genius wink>>

swedes is merely rubbishing it.

i'm happy with my question, swedes, if you think there is another question to put - then put it.

i disagree that banks who were not recipients of govt funding didn't benefit from the measures taken by the taxpayer to support the entire system yes the entire system. the entire market was propped up by the willingness of the taxpayer to support failing banks, to offer an asset protection scheme, to engage in quantitative easing.

MusterMix Thu 15-Oct-09 14:52:37

very good. and that if someone some where spent some money on problems rather than trying to save money on everything we might actually SORt some of these issues out.

<thinks of drug programmes, education etc>

Cometrickortreatingwithme Thu 15-Oct-09 14:54:27

Instead of making it easy to stay on benefits would it not make more sense to offer people a small amount of help towards council tax benefit /rent for the first few months of a new job rather than just cutting everything off straight away?

I am sure more people would want to get back into work if they knew they had some sort of safety net to help them out for a short while.


Ivykaty44 Thu 15-Oct-09 14:54:35

My question:

Can Sarah come next time and we chat to her smile oh and Gordon you can stay home and cook tea or soemthing wink

bossykate Thu 15-Oct-09 14:55:50

of course there are arguments against a windfall tax, i'd like to hear what the prime minister's are, if any.

MusterMix Thu 15-Oct-09 14:56:13

I so agree with that about the benefits.
it seems that is why peopel are often done for fraud in court( unlike some other fiddlers of expenses - god imagine if I had fiddled mine..)

they are unsure if seasonal work will pan out and know its such a hassle to de register that they just claim, then are foudn out. Particularly in farming and horse type jobs.

MusterMix Thu 15-Oct-09 14:56:31

a reference to farming on a PM thread grin

BobbingForPeachys Thu 15-Oct-09 14:56:58

cometrickortreat the way to do that would be to allow claims up to pay day, to cover the gap between benefit and pay.

You balance that by not paying the first claim until a week / month (whatever the pay epriod was) from the first day of unemployment.

For short trmn claimants the difference will be minimal as you can save the difference, but for long term claimants, or even those coming off IB, CA etc who have never worked, it would help enormously.

Sorry hijack over

RnB Thu 15-Oct-09 14:59:40

Dear Gordon,

As the mother of an 8 yr old autistic boy, I would like to alert you to the plight of many families. We endure a seemingly never-ending battle to get suitable help and eduction for our children. This includes things like diagnosis, appropriate early intervention, obtaining DLA and, of course, schooling.

Autism, is an 'invisible' condition which has a huge impact of the lives of families, and such battles are cruel and unfair.

What do you plan to do to improve this situation for autistic children and their families?

Cometrickortreatingwithme Thu 15-Oct-09 15:01:04

It would help Peachy we got into an awful mess when DP started his new job because we couldn't manage ct straight away.

I have no question yet, but wanted to say that I am

a) in awe that MN has pulled this off

b) a firm supporter of Gordon -I think he's been given a really unfair rollicking in the media for not playing their spinny spinny PR game, and he's actually one of the only politicians I trust to try and do the thing that is BEST for EVERYONE (him and Ed Miliband)

c) really worried about what will happen if that snake oil merchant Cameron gets in sad

Can't be here live, will read after with much interest.

<<waves flag for Gordon>>

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 15:03:17

What's the password Justine? Shall I try gordy123?

Prime Minister, in light of the debt that we now have as a result of helping the country through the recession, where do you intend the money to come from to pay this off?

Tax rises seem inevitable, but are hugely unpopular with (most of) the electorate.

Spending cuts may be the obvious answer, but would seem to risk undoing a lot of the good work that has been done over the last few years.

So where do we get the money from?

Windfall taxes on many of our successful corporations must be something that you're considering? And not just the banks.

Bleh Thu 15-Oct-09 15:12:59

Dear Gordon,

First of all, I would like to say that I do admire you, voted for Labour last time as it was proposed that you'd come in to replace Tony Blair, and feel that the media has given you a really unfair deal.

My question is this:
- What proposals does your government have to encourage entrepreneurship, investment and ambition, that will aid the economic recovery? At the moment, a lot of the policies and proposals (50% income tax, excessive regulation) discourage it. What is the point of working hard if you're just going to get taxed more?

Antiquarian Thu 15-Oct-09 15:13:38

I have a question/comment for Gordon, which I'd love him to answer. It is this:

When are you going to let the house price bubble burst, so that prices become more realistic for any buyers (not just first-time).

It seems at the moment that you are doing everything you can to safeguard and protect current home owners from the fallout of the credit crunch. I understand that confidence with regard to house prices relates to confidence in the economy, yet the entire credit crunch itself has been partly based on over-inflated house prices and consumer spending based on debt, something that the Labour government actively encouraged.

Your government constantly talk about house price growth as positive, when in fact a more stable economy would be based on much less rapid house price inflation. Meanwhile, people like me who have been priced out of the housing market, are now doubly penalised as we can't borrow sufficient funds (and don't want to take ridicilous risks), whilst your propping up of the market has kept house prices well above their long-term average.

What's going to happen next?

Antiquarian Thu 15-Oct-09 15:15:24

Ridiculous. Not ridicilous. Bad having typos in a message to the PM!

carriedababi Thu 15-Oct-09 15:15:35

Hi Gordon,

Just like to say you seem like a really nice bloke and your wife sarah seems lovely

anyway please answer fabs question
as this is my question too.

By FABIsInTraining Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:28 Add a message | Report post | Contact poster

I accept it is my choice to stay at home and look after my husband and my children, but why is it we would be better off if we split up?

And if you feel that isn't the case (DH is a FD btw) why is there no tax breaks for full time mums from their husbands?

SomeGuy Thu 15-Oct-09 15:16:14

Not just the banks? That would be a general increase in corporation tax, in effect.

EccentricaGallumbats Thu 15-Oct-09 15:18:46

Will miss this live as I'll be in college tomorrow.

Here's my question.

Do you really think the NHS and free healthcare at point of delivery will ever work?


scrappydappydoo Thu 15-Oct-09 15:22:08

Well done MNHQ!!

My question is 'why should I bother to vote in the next election?' (please note the why not a who) It seems to me that all the parties and politicians are the same. One says one thing the other opposes it. It just goes round and round.
I will vote but only because I feel I HAVE to because in this country I have the opportunity and freedom to. But in all honesty I do not think my vote makes one bit of difference.

justaboutautumn Thu 15-Oct-09 15:22:46

Hi. Many on Mumsnet have experienced the pain of losing a baby, fetus or young child. From your experience is there any advice yo can give about dealing/living with the grief?

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 15-Oct-09 15:26:28

MNHQ - well done. You are forgiven for your recent Daily Mail dalliance. I won't be on the computer at lunchtime but will read thread in the evening.

loopy9 Thu 15-Oct-09 15:30:28


I am a hard working Mother, currently on maternity leave. I am horrified that you are considering scraping Childcare vouchers.

I was hoping you would have increased the amount I could put into the scheme as both my husband and I both put in the top amount of £243 each but this just about covers half of my son's nursery fees. When I go back to work next year we will have to find nursery fees for my daughter. If you remove this tax break then we may have to look at whether it is worth me working at all.

I am sure a lot of families will be in a similar situation. Will you reconsider?

Thank you

VirginiaLoveGlove Thu 15-Oct-09 15:31:19

I was wondering if you and Sarah co-slept with your children.

Did Sarah breastfeed and for how long?

goyachan Thu 15-Oct-09 15:35:48

I have much gratitude and admiration for all this labour government has done for young families. In this current climate of cuts most what is the future for longer paternity leave, child care vouchers and the sure start centres?

Thank you

carriedababi Thu 15-Oct-09 15:35:55

i hope gordons on time, not like most folk we have on here for live web chats.

bumblingalong Thu 15-Oct-09 15:42:08

My question would be: why, when the country is so in debt, the gov't insists on wasting money on people who don't need it and denying those who do?

Me and my partner both work and struggle to pay mortgage etc each month yet get £43 per month tax/child credits, whereas friends of ours who have the same household income as us but no mortgage or rent and a stay at home dad are entitled to approx £600 per month?

I don't blame them for claiming it, but does the PM think its a fair system that leaves some struggling to keep their home and others who don't necessarily need it get more?

midnightexpress Thu 15-Oct-09 15:44:10

What does the PM think of the idea of state-owned and paid-for accommodation (perhaps flats) for sitting MPs in London? All other accommodation to be at the MPs' own expense, like the rest of us.

I hope that this accommodation would be kept in better nick than that supplied to our armed forces.

duffy Thu 15-Oct-09 15:46:13

My question is does Sarah get irritated by how hard you work and (presumably) how little family time you get? Obviously you do an important job - it's not like you're off with your mates down the pub - but my husband is pretty high-powered and busy and I get hugely frustrated by how little time he has for us. (Especially as I also work full time)

Thanks so much for coming on Mumsnet!

duffy Thu 15-Oct-09 15:50:20

Sorry to be blunt but... how is your health. I really, really don't want to vote for you and suddenly find David Milliband is running the country (assuming you win, which I hope you do) and clearly there's been lots of rumours in the papers etc?

cleanandclothed Thu 15-Oct-09 15:52:41

Thank you for coming on. I would like to ask you what you feel has been your biggest success as PM and what has been your biggest mistake? (not failing, but mistake, ie not something you tried to do but didn't work but something you actually did that you regret)

mamadiva Thu 15-Oct-09 15:53:42

Another who won't be able to be here live but always thought Gordon did always get a bit of a raw deal being blamed for the state of affairs when all he has tried to do is clean up behind Tony Blair, lets face it between attempted terrorist attacks, floods and economic downfalls he's hardly had it easy!

I can only think of one thing to ask but don't think it's an appropraite question because it does'nt even really make sense to me TBH hmm

LilyBolero Thu 15-Oct-09 15:53:46

Welcome to MN, Prime Minister! (How exciting to write that!).

I would like to ask how much more the middle classes are going to be squeezed in order to pay for the economic problems the country finds itself in. Invariably, new initiatives help the poorest in society (which is of course how it should be), aren't felt by the higher earners, but for people like us, just above the threshold for 40% income tax, we neither reap the benefits of tax credits, nor have the high income to buffer us from other charges/taxes brought in.

For example in education, we would have to pay full fees for universities, which we will barely be able to afford. Much of the press portrays people like us as able to afford things like private schools etc (and thus justify things like uni fees) - it's simply not the case. It's still a struggle to make ends meet.

So my question is, how could you , and will you protect the 'lower-middle earners' who at the moment are hammered for everything?

SomeGuy - there are other profitable companies in the UK besides just the banks!

And maybe it will be about increased corporation tax. I was thinking, specifically, of those companies who make multi-millions of profit. Maybe after a certain profit threshold GB Ltd gets to take a cut?

VirginiaLoveGlove Thu 15-Oct-09 16:00:36

Oh, also wanted to add, I'm so pleased we no longer have a PM who thinks that his decisions are inspired by the Divine.

I hope you like your stay on MN.

Lizzylou Thu 15-Oct-09 16:01:04


{Hassled, fab question, thats what I wanted to ask, but yours is worded far better than I could have done)

OK, I would like to ask

Do you think that Tony Blair will be a good EU President should he be successful?
Do you think if he did get the Presidency that you'd work well together and how will it benefit the UK?

Catilla Thu 15-Oct-09 16:02:15

Aside from the obvious childcare related questions which lots of people will ask (like why do I have to earn £50k to have anything left for me after paying my nanny a decent wage, or for two children in nursery?), I'd like to put forward a question/suggestion:

Please can we have more police out actually enforcing the more "minor" laws which are constantly being broken? We introduce more and more speed limits for example, and stronger penalties for using a phone while driving, but people are still getting away with of these things. Putting in more controls isn't going to put persistent offenders off - but if they really thought there was a chance of getting caught they wouldn't do it. Same for littering / fly tipping. Our society would feel like people had more respect for each other if the worst felt their behaviour might result in comeback for them.

What do you think?

mamadiva Thu 15-Oct-09 16:02:57

Mr Brown are there any plans being made to help stay at home parents who are not on benefits get back into the work place or retraining to better their emplyment chances?

I have found it increasingly difficult to be able to afford to go to college or get back to work because my partner works and it would just mean paying out a lot more than is coming in especially with me attending college unpaid. We do recieve tax credits but nothing else and my partner is in a basic paid job, yet I have friends who are single parents/on benefits and can do courses without having to worry about rent, council tax or childcare costs.

Thank you for your time

mamadiva Thu 15-Oct-09 16:04:07

Oh god that did'nt amke sense did it, should've stuck with the telepathic question

MagNacarta Thu 15-Oct-09 16:08:30

Dear Prime Minister

Could you please change the rules so that childcare is allowed as a tax deductable expense for those of us who are self-employed or running small businesses?


Hello Gordon,

Please can you tell me if the purpose of setting up Child Trust Funds was to enable the government to withdraw funding from higher education by encouraging families to save to pay for it themselves?

Have you considered the repercussions of the Child Trust Funds in about 14 years from now, when many immature 18yr olds will be bombarded by advertising companies who have looked up names on the electoral role to target with their 'solutions' to relieve these 18yr olds of the burden of their parents/grandparents/family etc. savings that were intended for their education/future?

Many thanks,


cleanandclothed Thu 15-Oct-09 16:11:38

MNHQ - is there any way we could vote for our favourite 2 questions and you would definitely ask him to answer the top 4, rather than choose them all himself? This is such a once in a lifetime opportunity it would be great for him to answer questions the majority of people think are really important.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 15-Oct-09 16:13:51

VV good idea cleanandclothed...

Mag You can get round that one by employing a Chauffer to drive your children around all day, - stopping off at various toddler groups perhaps, or the zoo!?

nettie Thu 15-Oct-09 16:15:54

Sorry if its already been asked, but why can't my husband have my tax allowance as I am a stay at home parent. as the system is now we worked out we would both be financially better off if we split up, surely this is wrong!

Dear Gordon,

Why is there no equivalent of the Child Care Voucher tax break for the self employed.

My partner and I are both self employed with 2 children that need childcare. We have to pay the full cost ourselves. Friends on much higher incomes than us have both their employers in the scheme saving that family £250 a month (one is a higher rate tax payer) than us for exactly the same childcare.
I took this up with my MP Janet Anderson (she is fab) but the answer came back from the treasury that this scheme is only for employed parents. I then tried the Federation of Small Businesses of which I am a member. Their Stephen Alambritis told me i had to start a petition, 'get some national pr', start a groundswell and then once I've done all the hard work, the fsb will take it up and start lobbying!! (and no doubt take any credit...)

As a self employed parent of two small children it would be interesting to see if I still had any business left after all that petitioning and trying to get in the national press....

So, can you tell me why my self employed partner and I are £200 per month worse off paying childcare than families on the same income who happen to be employees. Month on month, year on year. I can't bring myself to work out the long term figure. This government is supposed to help entrepreneurs but you are imposing this unfair stealth tax on self employed families.

I can't join in the live webchat sorry, I'll be working!

oops just noticed you there MagNacarta! Great minds think alike grin

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 16:24:53

Electronic voting would be good too. The whole system needs a shake up. We should be able to vote locally on issues to force our MPs to carry that vote forward irrespective of the party line.

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 16:25:27

nettie, I'd like to see a family tax allowance too.

midnightexpress Thu 15-Oct-09 16:30:09

I'll sign your petition flibberty (but don't have time to take nose off grindstone long enough to organise the campaign myself, sadly).

Lulumama Thu 15-Oct-09 16:33:55

Well done MNHQ, what a coup!

I see there are already lots of questions for gordon, but i would like to ask the following:

Why do maternity services still seem to be at the bottom of the pile when it comes to investment and staffing levels?

I believe the NHS would save an absolute fortune by providing more midwives and one to one care from a named midwife, which is the aim, but seems no closer to being achieved.

Women who are supported by a known and named MW seem to come through birth better , both physically and emotionally.. and then use less resources post birth in terms of counselling, birth debriefing , even having post birth repairs /surgery

the illusion of choice remains an illusion.. often women have to fight to give birth in a midwife led unit, or at home, due to lack of staff

considering birth involves the needs of the woman and the baby, surely more investment at this critical point in the lives of the mother and baby would reap long term benefits for all

supporting breastfeeding properly would save money too, yet in the trust i am involved in, the breastfeeding supporter works monday to friday only and not in the SCBU. so a special care baby born at the weekend gets no specialised breastfeeding help if it's needed

why are maternity services still woefully underfunded?

onebatmother Thu 15-Oct-09 16:38:43

paolasgirl, bossykate, and sallypuss you are now legends in the marketing world grin

BudaBones Thu 15-Oct-09 16:39:01

Wow MNHQ. Just wow. Well done.

Lots of great questions on here already so I will just read tomorrow.

Paolosgirl Thu 15-Oct-09 16:40:20

My use of the word "brave" has been misunderstood. Off to put them right....

LeninGhoul Thu 15-Oct-09 16:40:25

We should definitely get something in about MNH. Funny how you forget it all a few weeks down the line once you know you're not having any more but ante-natal care, childbirth and the MNH care system were not a great experience a lot of the time.

muggglewump Thu 15-Oct-09 16:53:05

Wow, Gordon Brown!

I would like to ask about the Tax Credit 16 hour rule, and exactly why it exists?

I've (as a single parent) recently started a new job, and luckily, they liked me so much at interview they found the extra hour to offer me the job, but I had to leave my previous job due to my hours being reduced to 15.

How does it make sense to stay at home on benefits, when I was desperate to work, because of this rule?

Kathyis12feethighandbites Thu 15-Oct-09 16:54:33

Another person who would like to ask the childcare vouchers question.

I have a decent professional job but I still only just break even by working. Without the vouchers I will lose money by working. But if I quit the chances are I'll never get another job in the field again and you lose all my tax money. Why is this a good idea (unless you are deliberately trying to take working mothers out of the workforce to free up jobs for men and school leavers who would be more likely to claim benefits than stay-at-home-mums <cynical>)?

louii Thu 15-Oct-09 17:01:02

Were you very worried when the SNP won the Scottish Parliament seat in the constituency next to yours?

BudaBones Thu 15-Oct-09 17:02:10

Oh - I do have a question!

Do you not have anything better to do with your lunch hour than come on here? smile

Purple25 Thu 15-Oct-09 17:08:17

My question To Gordon Brown is:
When you announced that the Government would be making cuts to sort out the budget, the first cut you announced was that you wouldn't proceed with extending maternity pay to the full 52 weeks, as promised in your Manifesto. Why?

theyoungvisiter Thu 15-Oct-09 17:08:42

Dear Gordon Brown, like others I'm concerned about the proposed scrapping of childcare vouchers, which have made a huge difference to our household budget, and have helped make it economical for me to go back to work.

I understand the rationale behind scrapping scheme, as the tax breaks benefit those on higher tax rates more than those on moderate incomes, and I agree this isn't the best use of public money.

But do you think a solution could be found by only allowing people to offset the vouchers against their lower-rate tax allowance? Could this rationale be applied to other salary sacrifice schemes to make them equally advantageous for all workers?

Thanks for coming onto MN and good luck at the election!

SallyDawson Thu 15-Oct-09 17:09:24

My question to Gordon Brown..
I agree with your plans to abolish tax free child vouchers, although I am a very grateful beneficiary. However, when concentrating on working families tax credits instead why does the maximum earnings threshold not more accurately reflect the cost of living for us middle income families? A limit of £58,000 pa, taking into consideration housing costs in the South East and more to the point full-time childcare costing in excess of £1000 per month per child, means that so called middle income families are actually struggling to make ends meet.

sausage0506 Thu 15-Oct-09 17:10:18

Hello PM Brown
Not sure if this has already been asked so i apoligise if it has ..
Why is there so many incentives for mothers who don't work to get back into employment ie help with childcare costs extra benefits etc , yet us mothers who have jobs already, enjoy their jobs and want to go back to work don't get this kind of help.
I work as a nurse in the nhs have funny shifts so i'm going to have to pay extra for my childcare when i return to work in January, I do enjoy my job but wonder if its worth while when i would be better off at home claiming benifits and looking after my own baby this can't be right.

Hope you have enjoyed your day

CeeUnit Thu 15-Oct-09 17:11:28

I would like to ask why there are not more incentives for Mums to stay at home with their little ones? I am taking a break from my teaching career to look after our toddler and baby and we have made sacrifices because of this. However, because my husband works his fingers to the bone to provide for us we are entitled to virtually nothing and taxed up to our eyeballs.

mollythetortoise Thu 15-Oct-09 17:18:52

Hi Mr Brown,

surely more can be done to stop the arrogant bankers awarding themselves massive bonus all thanks to tax payers money supporting them. Directly or indirectly.

I am concerned the momentum to change the bonus culture is slipping away.

It is outrageous that public sector workers are being scapegoated for the financial hole this country is in (by the tories) and yet the hugh deficit is mostly as a result of the bailout -caused by the greed of the bankers.

Molly the tortoise

jings Thu 15-Oct-09 17:19:26

Why is it so complicated to get any form of *respite care* when you have a disabled child. When you are exhausted and worn out the last thing you can manage is to take on the complexities of social services.

SexyDomesticatedDad Thu 15-Oct-09 17:32:45

Dear GB, what ever happened to prudence and your commitment in the past that you would never allow a lack of control over the public finances? Labour has limited the amount of accountability and the spend spend spend approach has indeed provided many benfits to those that need it but it seems billions have and are planned to be squandered on projects that are not worth the benefit to the cost, ID schemes, NHS computer system etc. Often experts have shown these to be non viable and yet the plans are pushed through by gov't.

Podrick Thu 15-Oct-09 18:05:13

Is it one of your aims to close the gap between rich and poor? If this is important to you then how successful have you been to date and what are your plans for the future with regard to this?

If this is not important to you do you foresee any problems with the widening gap?

MichKit Thu 15-Oct-09 18:05:46

Dear Gordon Brown,

As a very recent naturalised citizen, I am proud to call myself British. However, I find myself disturbed by the slew of measures that demonise immigrants, as well as asylum seekers as 'living off benefits'. As someone who has paid high taxes, plus not received any benefits, I find it distasteful that the government seeks to make more money from legal immigrants, while doing nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

What would you have to say to people like myself and my husband who have faithfully followed every legal change in immigration law, however unjustified, but now find ourselves in the position of having paid out a few months' worth of salaries to be naturalised? Are we paying for the mistakes you have made by not putting in place stronger measure to curb illegal immigration?

herbietea Thu 15-Oct-09 18:07:16

Hello Gordon,

I'll try to be brief, but I am not sure it is possible.

Why have the Labour Government failed the Armed Forces so spectactularly?

My Husband is an RAF sergeant and is very overworked and considerably underpaid, as every member of the Armed Forces are.

Tony Blair, and subsequently, you have let them down at every single avenue. They have been over commited in battle areas, and lives are being lost because of this.

Yet, this week you announced you are going to send more troops in to Afghanistan. That means breaks between tours is going to be less all over the world and the men and women left in the UK to get the tanks, planes,helicopters, boats etc will be working muych much harder to keep things ticking over. And where is the new equpiment that could save more lives?

This week, so far up until last night,my DH has worked 43 hours. He had 2 hours sleep last night before having to get up this morning to help me get my children ready for school, as I am disabled and the house which my OT requested for me in August last year has still not had the work started on it. Then he had to contact the Community Support Officer to inform him about more anti social behaviour aimed at myself and my children last night whilst he was at work. The third such incident this week.

You are expecting the Armed Forces personnel and their families to live in squalor in some MQs, in areas of high anti social behviour whilst men ansd women are away fighting an unwinnable (is that a word?) war.

This Government can't go on treating the armed forces with such contempt.

The other question is when are you going to sack Bob Ainsworth?

Raq Thu 15-Oct-09 18:09:24

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am lone parent with a mortgage but I never got help with it. If I was renting I would have received help but as a home owner even though my mortgage is less that the rent of a flat, I got no help when I needed it most. I was on SSP for 6 months, with a toddler and unrealiable ex-husband. I would like to highlight that they are lone parents struggling like me and it is not healthy for children or parents to be in that situation.Help with mortgages should be provided for lone parents as we dont get the benefit of housing benefit. Also CSA percentage is not enough, my ex gets £500 or more per week, he only has to give me £75 and I have to pay the rest which are mortgage, bills, safety and maintanance, food, clothes, educational toys and books, nursery costs, etc.. I think we shouldnt make it that easy for the not living in parents as it is hard to be a single mum or dad and we should get more help. I hope you can understand my point, things need to improve for us please, for our children and their future, they do deserve to have a good life even when they have only one parent. Thank you for your attention and have a good day.


Raquel Powell

OnlyQuoteMeInTheTelegraph Thu 15-Oct-09 18:11:50

I don't have a question, but would like to add my full support to herbietea's comments

sherby Thu 15-Oct-09 18:16:06

Hello Gordon

The law protecting breastfeeding mothers rights in Scotland has had some very positive results. Are there any plans for the same law to be passed in England, thereby giving English mothers the same protection as in Scotland?

Also I hope you win grin


nannynick Thu 15-Oct-09 18:25:52

Dear Gordon,

Please can you offer your assurance that Local Authorities are being given as much help as possible to get their childcare data onto Direct.Gov. The 7th September deadline was missed by a number of local authorities including Surrey County Council who are unable to give a date as to when parents will be able to find out about Childcare in Surrey via the Direct.Gov website.

Many thanks,


Hello Gordon,

I work in the NHS, and am concerned about how trust managers are dealing with targets. In my trust, pressure to meet targets is such that corners are being cut, books cooked, and work rushed to meet particular targets. For example, brief 15min outpatient appointments are being written up as full multidisciplinary CPA meetings to hit targets.

The upshot of this is that clinical standards are falling, yet our trust's CQC rating has changed from weak to fair.

What are your plans to ensure that targets are actually met in a more meaningful way, so that people's experiences of healthcare are improved?

overweightnoverdrawn Thu 15-Oct-09 18:39:45

Dear PM were you named after Gordon the gofer .

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 15-Oct-09 18:40:48

Could I ask him who is the exact right person I should talk to in the government about autism? I think our state autism provision is woefully inadequate because we're using an outdated methodology. My autistic son has come on in leaps and bounds using a behavioural method called ABA - who is the person I could talk to about maybe extending these methods to our state special schools and mainstream units? Actually I think these common sense behavioural methods could be used with normally functioning kids too!

shock Martha

If I can vote, - can I vote for sickof. It might affect a minority, but it is significant, - around 1 in 80 children now. It is essential that this is addressed. I would also suggest that some research is conducted into the rise in autism and the rise in medicalised birth. IMO it is no coincidence.

milge Thu 15-Oct-09 18:48:18

Wow. Quite a coup for MN - Well Done MNHQ
Welcome to MN, Gordon. Hope you survive the vipers nest. All respect to you in coming on.

My question:

How have your experiences of parenthood shaped your political beliefs and your acts as PM.


ps is my local mp a good pps ?

morningpaper Thu 15-Oct-09 18:50:34

I am HUGE ENORMOUS FAN. Just one question is hard isn't it? It's like talking to a genie. Can I ask for more wishes? Ermm...

Here is my question: Do you consider yourself to be an unlucky Prime Minister?

babybroody Thu 15-Oct-09 19:09:36

Good afternoon PM.

Is there any chance at all of increasing Maternity Pay? Suddenly dropping a wage and still having the same bills to pay out for puts an enormous strain on things when life is difficult enough with a new child coming into a family.

Thank you for your time.

feckaff Thu 15-Oct-09 19:14:20

Do I have to name change for him to answer me?


IwantGordonTHATway Thu 15-Oct-09 19:15:22

Hope not.

FlamingoBingo Thu 15-Oct-09 19:16:34

Why is your government trying to push through legislation regulating home education that is based on a review that was highly flawed in many ways, and motivated by the suspicion that some parents choose to home educate to hide child abuse and domestic servitude when there is no evidence whatsoever for this suspicion?

No other sector of parents are assumed guilty of child abuse until proven innocent, so why home educators?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 15-Oct-09 19:22:18

I know I have had a question but DS1 (age 10) would like to know what you are going to do about bullying?

And DS2 (age 5) would like to know if he can have an Ben10 Alien Attack toy please? grin

FiveGoMadonTheDanceFloor Thu 15-Oct-09 19:23:28

Why do you and your wife not support British farmers, with reference to your wife lumping British Veal farmers who adhere to strict guidelines set down by the RSPCA in with the European Veal farmers who definitely don't.

So easy to confuse Gordon Brown with Father Christmas!

FiveGoMadonTheDanceFloor Thu 15-Oct-09 19:25:39

And having 2 vegetarians as Ministers looking after the farming community is not good.

ellemmjay Thu 15-Oct-09 19:31:26

I believe that you have had a "poisoned chalice" of an administration , picking up the flack for a number of Tony Blair's policies, however if you were to be returned to power at the next election what initiatives do you think you would " headline " for the benefit of families - particularly working families ?

motherducky Thu 15-Oct-09 19:33:57

Dear Gordon

Great to see you on here. Also GREAT to see you finally get rid of Tony Blair! If you'd only done it sooner I would definately have voted labour last time instead of...!

Q. While I can see huge developments have been made in the Early Years, we cannot expect intelligent, highly educated, 'thinking' and skilled people to remain in this enormously challenging role if they do not get a salary and level of recognition to match those of, for instance, school teachers.

How can Early Years workforce reform succeed without a suitable pay scale to support it!?


said Thu 15-Oct-09 19:39:07

Oh, I oan't be here either but what a coup. Well done mn. Bet Sarah lurks.

Anyway, I like him. Must think of intelligent question.

Hi, I wasn't in the UK when Labor came to power in 1997, but there was such excitement about the (then) new government.

What happened to the big ideas? Where are they?

Is that 2 questions? hmm

What happened to the big ideas, and where are they?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 19:47:58

[ I know i have asked more than my allotted amount but who do we bug about not getting Tony Blair put in charge of the EU?]

[Also, do vote labour as have a fabulous MP and MSP]

Anyways, I still want to know how replacing Trident doesn't make us hypocrites since we signed up to the nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

comfortablynumb Thu 15-Oct-09 19:48:59

Does Gordon Brown really believe that pouring money into early years education is more worthwhile than helping mothers to stay at home and give their children the one on one attention that even exceptional nursery care can only come close to replicating?

said Thu 15-Oct-09 19:49:21

So agree with bossykate's "i will say this - i am so, so glad it was gordon brown and alistair darling in charge last october and not david cameron and george osborne."

<<Think, think, think of an intelligent question>>

Biddley Thu 15-Oct-09 19:51:01

I read on the weekend, labour intend to stop the childcare voucher schemes offered by some employees. Is this true, or will it only affect new/potential members?

Why is it, when government is trying to promote the idea of 'Community' and 'Family', that there are no allowances made for grandparents providing childcare? If they are paid then the parents have to pay full costs as not eligible for the childcare element of Working Tax Credit; if they aren't then they are not only not receiving any income but they also need to find money to pay their own pension contributions. As a minimum they should be able to claim the Home Responsibility element of Child Benefit when both parents are working, so at least their pensions will be protected.


motherducky Thu 15-Oct-09 19:58:10

from my 6 year old daughter...

Dear Gordon brown
I don't like people who don't treat others as they would've liked to be treated. And I
don't like people who would like to kill other people in wars or make people go back to other countries.

Is it fun being a prime minister?

(I'm very sorry mumsnet if that is breaking a rule, I couldn't think of any it would be...)

Lilyloooohhhh Thu 15-Oct-09 20:07:32

Wow MN well done grin

I am also interested to know what is the future of sure start centres ?
Our local one is great and a real lifeline for many parents and children.

Please don't let them become another initiative / reinventing the wheel!! I have worked in many 'new initiatives' when funding has been withdrawn only to be replaced by the same thing.
If it works be proud !

georgiegirl15 Thu 15-Oct-09 20:18:12

Why are new mums who are on maternity leave from work given such low pay? I am a qualified teacher who has worked very hard and has just had a much longed for child. My beautiful baby was only 5 and half months old when I had to return to work, if I hadn't we would have lost everything. There are people sitting around on their backsides on the sick, claiming benefits and raking in the cash yet my maternity pay was a mere £400 per month - not even close to covering the mortgage, or the bills. Also why was I forced to take my maternity leave a month before my baby was born? Is there no compassion for married, working women who want to have children?

hatwoman Thu 15-Oct-09 20:18:48

Dear Gordon,

What will a new Labour government do to promote and protect the human rights of all people in the UK?

Having introduced the Human Rights Act the government has made no attempt to promote it – in particular to counter the misconceptions that surround it, including that it is a charter for terrorists and criminals.

Talk of a Bill of Rights – when in essence we already have one (the HRA) – and talk of ill-defined “responsibilities” do little for human rights, rather they risk further undermining the HRA.

Establishing an Equalities and Human Rights Commission whilst failing to listen to the highly respected human rights scholars and activists it had appointed as Commissioners, and re-appointing an unpopular and ineffective Chair, thus forcing their resignations, makes the government’s commitment to and understanding of human rights in this country look shaky in the extreme.

So what will a Labour government do to genuinely promote and protect the human rights of all people in the UK?

JeMeSouviens Thu 15-Oct-09 20:23:57

Prime Minister,

There are many talented people who have fled the UK in search of a better life, leaving behind them a yobbish culture, expensive housing, high living costs, lack of employment, apparent squeezing of the middle classes, and bad weather (to name a few). I know you can't do much about the weather, but what can you do, to attract these expats and their talents home?

swift220 Thu 15-Oct-09 20:27:25

Hi Gordon

I have recently had to pay for a private group b strep test, this test came back positive and I was put onto antibiotics in labour. I was very lucky,many people are not. I am concerned however that this is not a standard test done through pregnancy, my midwife even tried to put me off having this done. Is the government going to do something about this?

Many thanks

Dear Gordon

I see a lot of questions here are about childcare. I think this government have made a huge difference in this area due to the free 15 hours at nursery for 3 yr olds (ds2 is just 3. I am very grateful).

However, I can't help thinking that some of the remaining problems mentioned here couldn't be solved if there were more childminders.

so my question is: would you consider asking ofsted to make the regulations for childminders less onerous? (this being why both our local 2 childminders have given up)

kitty1970 Thu 15-Oct-09 20:28:21

I would like to know why there is no help available, after a baby. I wanted to go back to college but because my partner is working no help.
I could only sign on for six months because my partner is working, again no help.

I have now gone self employed and there is no help in the form of grants out there.

If I was to become a single mum then there would be.

I have worked full time for 20 years it just isn't fair.

Ewe Thu 15-Oct-09 20:30:51

The electorate appear to be let down, detached and disillusioned by politics in general but also specifically the current government. I see and hear of many Labour loyalists who don't even feel that they can vote Labour in the next election.

Do you have anything up your sleeve to win the votes and hearts of the electorate back?

GoppingOtter Thu 15-Oct-09 20:31:00

Dear Gordon

Whatever happens at the next election be assured there are some long term labout voters out here who will always love you.

Tony should have got out sooner and given you a tatste of the pie before the cream went sour.

I in no way blame you - or labour for the current climate. We all bought in to the credit boom - i wish folk would ride the storm and stop looking for someone to blame.

Thankyou labour for your amazing contribution to rebuilding our schools.

My main bug bear is 'dumbing down' in education. This needs to stop. Introduce more igcses and stop this coursework sham.

So Gordon - i heart you and have six kids being brought up to love you too x

mumbot Thu 15-Oct-09 20:36:49

Hi Gordon, I was really impressed by your speech at the Labour party conference, well done. My question is...

What will Labour do to help women break the glass ceiling at work?

Some background: I'm a higher rate tax payer working in the City, seen as a high flyer at work, but I want to be a great parent too! That for me means being present for my children and therefore not being able to take opportunities that take me away from home or full time hours. I've done well but my next move is to a Director role, I'm sure you can imagine the expectations that come with this sort of role in terms of hours. Hence, I think I will be stuck at this level = hello glass ceiling.

scottishmummyofone Thu 15-Oct-09 20:46:42

Dear Gordon

Firstly I love labour and I can tell you genuinely care about this country and you talk a lot of sense. You get my vote grin well done on the minimum wage, smoking ban etc

my question: up here in scotland, we can get free nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds. Will anything like this be offered to younger age groups to aid more parents back into work? the cost of childcare is ridiculous sad

CorinnaLouisa Thu 15-Oct-09 20:47:46

Dear Gordon,
I think it should be possible for all women to choose which NHS hospital / birthing unit they have their baby regardless of what NHS catchment area they are living in. It is not fair or equitable that those living in wealthier boroughs have exclusive access to better NHS services.

What steps will the Government take to create an open-choice policy for birthing services and when will this take effect?

Many thanks,

mafog Thu 15-Oct-09 20:50:43

I am self-employed and currently on Maternity leave and receiving Maternity Allowance.

If I return to work before the end of 39 weeks (quite likely!) I will stop receiving MA; however an employed person receiving SMP is able to set up as self-employed in this time and continue to receive both SMP as well as self-employed income.

I feel this is unfair and works against self-employed parents.

I would like the government to reconsider its support to self employed parents and to make more effort in understanding the fundamental differences and challenges of being a self employed parent when deciding policies.

TheGreatScootini Thu 15-Oct-09 20:51:34

I would like to ask;Given todays reports that the average bankers wages and bonuses are 46% higher this year than last year, and that the banks have made huge profits (if these reports are accurate),what exactly has changed between the time the taxpayer 'bailed out' the banks and now? As whilst the rest of us are in recession and employment continues to rise (even though Im aware its a lagging indicator), doesnt it seem slightly obscene?

I heard on the news today a report that illustrated how the regulatory system for the banks has not been changed at all since the banking crisis.The same bodies are still in charge and are still practising 'light touch' regulation.Can this possible be true?And if it is, does he plan to change the situation any time soon as its not really working as it is, given the above?

And also to say to him please dont scrap the childcare vouchers if you win next time.I work very hard in social care, and it is already demoralising that nearly two thirds of my wages go on child care (but we need the other third to live on so I cannot give up work as I would like to).If the child care voucher scheme is scrapped we will be stimied.

And does he regret saying he had Arctic Monkeys on his Ipod (as it was a bit of a 'baseball cap moment'), as that surely cant be true?And what does he really have on it?


Herecomesthesciencebint Thu 15-Oct-09 21:03:26

Welcome Mr PM,

I also have been a lifelong labour supporter as many here have already stated but for the first time I am really going to have to make a hard decision.

This is based upon the last few years of NHS managment performed by your government.

I just cannot reconcile how you have heavy handedly thrown continuous change at the NHS (and i speak as a GP principal in a busy inner city practice), and more specifically how you have allowed (I really hope not engineered) all the negative press towards GPs. I feel the current expenses sham has given you rather a taste of what we have had to deal with for a few years now, in terms of the press labelling a group of largely hardworking, honest people as crooks (although i hasten to add we do not have an expenses scheme!)

Every GP I know and work with, strives to offer a good service and makes decisions that they feel will benefit their patients but we are constantly being put down and sold out to private contactors who we simply cannot compete against. General practice is not and should not be about roll on roll off consultations as a number crunching exercise, and this view merely feeds unrealistic expectations whilst giving people a poor service.

Please dont allow the very essence of general practice or the NHS in general to be lost. Give us back some control and we can make it work.

What are your plans for general practic should you stay in power?

RubyBooBerry Thu 15-Oct-09 21:04:00

I would like to ask why the Goverment allowed the Monopolies Commission to okay the merger of the big four Tour Operators (Airtours & Thomas Cook and First Choice and Thomson) leaving the public to pay a ridiculously inflated price for taking a family holiday during the school holidays?

MonstrousMerryHenry Thu 15-Oct-09 21:05:16

Wow, I thought this was a joke at first! What a coup - MN, you are a POWERHOUSE!! Sadly I won't be here but please answer my question!

Okay, here goes. It's long, and please be assured that I am an ordinary Radio 4 listening MNer who is genuinely concerned by what I see your government doing, not a lobbyist or such like.

Since the Labour government came to power a significant number of laws have been passed which have dramatically increased the power that various authorities can wield over the average person. I am thinking of initiatives such as the 28 day pre-charge detention period; increased police stop and search powers; the English and Welsh police taking and keeping DNA samples of every person that is arrested, whether charged or not (note: Scotland has a more sensible approach to this); the introduction of biometric ID cards, etc etc.

There are far too many examples to list, and on an individual level one could say that the goal is to protect the country from terrorism. However, every time I hear of yet another one of these laws and the impact it is having on ordinary people, I see a whole landscape of increasing state control and can't help thinking that you've turned our country into more of a Police State than it's ever been before. It's quite something for a level-headed person to reach that conclusion, and I do not feel safe or happy about living here under those conditions.

I feel that our freedoms have been significantly eroded and ordinary people are being governed by the lowest common denominator - i.e. we're all like the 99.9% of good children in school assembly who get held in detention because one child farted and didn't own up. Oh, and AFAIK our anti-terrorism laws are more extensive and heavy-handed than other European countries', yet apart from ETA, AFAIK no terrorist attacks have taken place in Western Europe since the London July bombings, so one can reasonably question the validity of the Labour government's approach.

So here's the question: Do you think that's an acceptable way for people in a country to be managed - by the lowest common denominator? If not, what do you propose to do about it?

MonstrousMerryHenry Thu 15-Oct-09 21:06:05

Oops! Just seen qu's are meant to be brief! blush Hope my question is considered, despite that.

Cammelia Thu 15-Oct-09 21:07:46

Dear Gordon

If Labour win the next election are you going to copy the Tories and bring back married couple's tax allowance and if not, why not?

DaddyJ Thu 15-Oct-09 21:08:40

Oh hello, Gordon.

Goodbye, Gordon.

Maiakins Thu 15-Oct-09 21:14:47

Thanks for coming on here, Prime Minister.

I think the work of the Department for International Development (DFID) must be one of Labour's greatest achievement and from what I read, you've been personally involved in leading the agenda on trade and poverty issues there.

My question is:
Can you give us a commitment to maintain (or increase) levels of spending on international development over the next few years? And related to this - when you stop being Prime Minister (whenever that may be), would you like to work more on international development issues? I think you'd be great at the UN, IMF or World Bank (beat that, Tony).

FritesMenthe Thu 15-Oct-09 21:19:14

Prime Minister.
Given the ongoing expenses scandal and the likelihood of Tory MPs in safe seats being forced out at or before the election, what strategies are you putting in place to scoop up these votes for Labour, and avoid splitting them with the LibDems? As an aggrieved Spelthorne constituent, I do not want to waste my vote.
Thank you

HalloweenIsSofaKingScary Thu 15-Oct-09 21:21:08

<Well done Mumsnet>

Dear Mr Brown

I know that the running of the NHS is political and that is not going to change. There has been huge investment in the NHS which was definitely needed, however there are huge inefficiencies in the system due to the mix of private / public sector. All the constant change is very demoralising for staff with the goal posts changing constantly.

Do Labour have any plans to limit the amount of political interference in the NHS if they were to get in to power at the next election? This may have come out in the Darzi review (which by the way was so off the mark politically it was scary - why get a surgeon to tell primary care what to do?)

And by the way, you have earned my respect by showing your face on Mumsnet.

<waves hello to Sarah who MUST be a MNer>

EnidsBretonTop Thu 15-Oct-09 21:21:37

Dear Gordon

What frightens you most about the (pretty likely) prospect of us having a Tory government next year?

TheMysticMasseuse Thu 15-Oct-09 21:22:52

coming late to this so no time to read. I would like to ask:

Is there an alternative to the system of debt-fuelled capitalism Britain that led us to the crisis, and which is showing every sign of creeping up again?

HalloweenIsSofaKingScary Thu 15-Oct-09 21:27:54


The bold looks worse in real life than it did on preview. I'm not shouting really grin

I was making the assumption that his minions would be skim reading this tomorrow morning.

Please could we ensure that Mr Brown answers questions that aren't just about children/childcare? Not that those aren't important, obviously, but there are some serious political issues being reflected in the questions on this thread.

Doobydoo Thu 15-Oct-09 21:40:48

Agree mostly with Goppingotter!

FritesMenthe Thu 15-Oct-09 21:48:42

Follow up - just read that Wilshire is going (good riddance). Gordon - will you come and campaign in Spelthorne please, with a decent candidate? I'll give you a nice cup of tea and a chocolate hobnob smile

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 15-Oct-09 22:12:12

Student Finance - what are you going to do to ensure the disaster of this year (and of last year) won't happen again? I applied for my son's finance in February, included all relevant paperwork, it was eventually approved in August, he's been at uni for almost a month and still has no money. Today SLC weren't answering their phones again (due to technical difficulties). We are just about able to help him keep his head above water but other students don't have help and it's very stressful.

Would also welcome answers to Peachy's question regarding DLA being administered by social services. they can't cope with the work they have at the moment. This would be a disaster and the families in most need will once again get the shitty (sorry) end of the stick.

domesticslattern Thu 15-Oct-09 22:14:41

Childcare is a very important political issue. Will I go to work tomorrow or not? (does it make economic sense or not?).

Gordon, what were you thinking of axing childcare vouchers? Have you properly considered the enormous kick which this gives, not to the rich, but to those who are right on the edge?

I said it was! Just pointed out that there are a lot of other important subjects that have been raised here.

ronshar Thu 15-Oct-09 22:21:48

Thank you Prime Minister for taking the time to speak to us all.

Can I ask why the government thinks it is acceptable to aim for a 30% pass mark at GCSE level. (5 and above, not including the important subjects)
That means that 70% of our children are being failed by a system which is heralded as opening up higher education for all.

Well no, only 30% in reality.

I really do want to know this as I have asked David Cameron and Ed Balls. Thanks MN as I would never have had these chances otherwise.

kcartyparty Thu 15-Oct-09 22:23:50

Mr Brown, I would greatly appreciate some insight into your future plans to help support mums back into work. I am a working single parent - struggling financially!
My children don't have any treats, or holidays, yet I know of single parnets getting grants & loans for being on IS. They get half price travel fare, they don't pay to send their kids to half term clubs etc. Yet I, struggling have too!! My eldest son has suggested that I give up work and join the quite comfortably well off benefit families.
What are your plans to help people like me?
Truth only - no spin please. I voted you in the first time you won all those years back, have not done so since....give me a good reason to change my mind


Ponders Thu 15-Oct-09 22:24:44

I want to know why it's so easy for the children of affluent-but-divorced parents to get EMA, maximum student loan, & often grants as well, purely because they live with their mothers who don't have paid jobs.

domesticslattern Thu 15-Oct-09 22:24:53

yes WorthIt- I wasn't bleating or contradicting you, just trying to get the PM to pay attention to it.

<me me, over here, answer my question please!>

Swedes2Turnips0 Thu 15-Oct-09 22:27:06

<<<BossyKate - Barclays and HSBC and others aren't even in the Government APS. Even Lloyds which is currently 40 odd percent government owned is talking about a rights issue to boost its capital ratios in order not to enter the expensive Government APS. The banks that were bailed out by the taxpayer weren't given the money - the Government took an equity stake in the bank. And the measures taken by the government benefitted the wider economy not just the banks.

What about the motor industry? All these incentives to further pollute the planet? I don't like cars much at all and would like to see them heavily taxed, not subsidised by the government. But I do see the wider benefits of keeping the car industry going.>>>

Apologies for hijack.

themumfromdelmonte Thu 15-Oct-09 22:29:56

This is probably slighly odd but I've been thinking about this recently:

My question is why doesn't the government make prisons more unpleasant places to be for inmates?

Making them more uncomfortable would cut the cost to taxpayers (cheapest food imaginable, turn the heating down so fairly cold etc.) and make imprisonment a greater deterrent to potential criminals (or at least those where their crime was premeditated).

It's a no-brainer to me. Cut crime, reduce costs.

uberalice Thu 15-Oct-09 22:30:53

Dear Mr Brown,

Welcome to Mumsnet.

Can you please explain why we still don't use Proportional Representation at UK parliamentary elections? Is it because you're scared you might lose? I'd definitely vote for the party brave enough to implement such radical reforms.

prozacpopsie Thu 15-Oct-09 22:31:21

Dear Gordon
Can people with mental illness ever be open about it and still hope to be successful, professionally, given that the country is run by tabloid?
Thank you

PS You have my vote (on a personal level) but mainly because I'd rather pull out my fingernails than vote Tory. grin

hatwoman Thu 15-Oct-09 22:37:07

omg mumfromdelmonet have you ever been in a prison? have you any idea what huge rates of mental illnesses there are in prisons? have you any idea how hard it is to get proper medical care if you're in prison? have you any idea how many women commit suicide or self-harm in prison? have you any idea how much bullying and violence there is in prison? have you any idea what it's like to have nothing to do all day? to not be allowed to educate yourself? have you ever thought about how huge a punishment incarceration in and of itself is? prisons are not holiday camps. I expect this isn;t the place to respond to questions (unless you're GB...!) - but yours just made my jaw hit the floor.

themumfromdelmonte Thu 15-Oct-09 22:40:18

I didn't say there couldn't be support for people with mental illness and training programmes to rehabilitate people though.

I suppose that did sound a bit Daily Mail of me.

Better knock this on its head and start a new thread to discuss though or major thread hijack will happen.

hatwoman Thu 15-Oct-09 22:42:52

agreed - about not hi-jacking. sorry everyone!

Leish Thu 15-Oct-09 22:43:39

Please ask Mr Brown if there are any plans to change NI contributions for people who stay at home to bring up their children but are not on benefits? It seems unfair that people who decide to bring up their children are penalised for wanting to do one of the most natural things in the world. And if there are plans to pay basic contributions for people bringing up their children - then please could this be backdated

teafortwo Thu 15-Oct-09 22:48:39

Mr Prime Minister,

If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, honestly, what advice and encouragement would you whisper into this young man's ear?


Ponders Thu 15-Oct-09 22:49:11

Why do they need changing, Leish? You get Home Responsibilities Protection as long as you are receiving Child Benefit for a child under 16. (There is a limit to the number of years you can get but it's quite high)

BeccyCat Thu 15-Oct-09 22:49:28

If unscripted, you were posting on Twitter, would anyone follow you? Do you realise how much of your support is attributable to Sarah?

BeccyCat Thu 15-Oct-09 22:51:34

Also, what are your two reasons why I shouldnt vote for David Cameron?

BonjourIvresse Thu 15-Oct-09 22:53:40

What is the government doing to address the inequality between pro rata salaries paid for part time jobs and full time jobs? Even in my working enviroment ( a fairly right-on University) there is a massive disparity between prorata pay for jobs advertised as part time and full time.

drosophila Thu 15-Oct-09 22:54:16

Would you consider paying teachers who work in challenging inner city schools (and similar) more than those in schools populated by middle class families. Could schools that have large numbers of children with english as an additional language get significantly more funding. I am not a teacher but I see how hard the teachers work at my kid's school and how supportive they are to kids coming to this country from all over the globe (often from war torn corners). The teachers give of their own time to support kids and their families.

ted Thu 15-Oct-09 23:00:45

Congratulations on your plans to attend the Copenhagen summit on climate change - are you disappointed that more leaders aren't going to attend - why do you think that is? And how worried are you and Sarah about global warming?

Spidermama Thu 15-Oct-09 23:00:46

Hello Gordon Brown. Tis an honour. smile

I would love to be able to vote Labour again but while you're funding new coal-fired power stations, failing to curb the dangerously excessive carbon emissions from the aviation and shipping industries and failing to invest properly in renewable energy I cannot be complicit in what appears to me to be a sleepwalk into catastrophic climate change which is already killing people and will wreak havoc in the lifetimes of our children and their children.

How do you intend to make your mark on Planet Earth's date with destiny - the climate change agreement in Copenhagen in December?

Hello Mr Prime Minister and well done MNHQ.

I found it really hard to come up with a question as most other people have asked the ones I want answers to. But I have one question (actually two but I'm hoping if I can link them no-one will notice!).

Will you actually do anything with the issues that are highlighted? Does what we the voters say actually make any difference to your policy making? I guess what I want to know is is this a cynical marketing exercise or does Mr Brown genuinely want to hear what we have to say. You can't tell my tone from this post but I am asking in an earnest and hopeful way, not a confrontational, cynical one.

Also, this is the one I'm trying to sneak in so ignore it if you want but why should I bother voting Labour when I am in a Lib dem strong hold? YOu can couch the two questions under the gernal theme of why bother? Why bother voting and telling politicians what we want? (And there's the link...)

sybille Thu 15-Oct-09 23:09:20

Yes on the subject of climate change, why don't you just bite the bullet and make people pay for the true cost of air travel, instead of largely ignoring it and focusing all the energy on cutting other emissions drastically in order to meet targets? Wouldn't increased air travel costs be fairer - and would largely effect the wealthiest not the poorest (as increased energy prices do)?

Ponders Thu 15-Oct-09 23:11:55

I wish GB could lean on that nice Mr Obama to make Americans pay as much for their fuel as we do - that would save a lb or 2 of CO2 hmm

WouldntTouchThemWithYours Thu 15-Oct-09 23:14:45

My question is regarding the current debacle with Student Finance England and their inability to cope with this years high levels of applicants.

What are the government going to do to ensure that the same thing does not happen next year, and what is being done now to rectify this situation?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 15-Oct-09 23:17:11

[Did you giggle when Obama won the Nobel peace prize? How glad were you that it wasn't Tony?]

And, back to my question about Trident and the hypocrisy of signing international treaties on nuclear proliferation whilst replacing our own [grossly expensive] nuclear weapons.

sb6699 Thu 15-Oct-09 23:19:04

I can remember "speaking" on here with a lovely lady last winter who couldnt afford to turn her heating on even though there was snow on the ground outside. She has a severely disabled daughter who is unable to regulate her body temperature so this was potentially a very dangerous situation. My question is on behalf of her really because I am so shocked she had to live like this.

"There are thousands of people living in fuel poverty but predictions are that the cost of fuel will rise by another 26% above inflation and that the energy watchdog can do nothing about this.

What are YOU going to do about it?"

angels3 Thu 15-Oct-09 23:33:18

Dear PM,

My question is about renewable energy.

Please could you tell me why we are planning more coal fired power stations, and not using renewable energy? Why, as in Scotland, do we not have more Hydroelectricity plants, or use more wind turbines? (they are often seen not working, even on a mildly breezy day)

I for one, would be happy to have solar panels.

Is it crazy that we get our gas from Norway, through the longest pipeline to Easington in the UK?

Its time we used the knowledge we have to get this country up and running and self sufficient, don't you think?!

Thanks for your time.

Ps don't get me started on the so-called 'Green Car' - what utter nonsense - where does the power come from the charge up the batteries - a coal fired power station of course!

jollydiane Thu 15-Oct-09 23:52:34

Dear Prime Minister

Final salary public sector pensions are unsustainable. If you disagree with that statement what is you action plan to avoid a pension crisis.


MonstrousMerryHenry Fri 16-Oct-09 00:16:21

I have to add this update to my earlier, lengthy post about the erosion of our civil liberties, as I've just heard the issue of the DNA Database discussed in Parliament on the radio.

I'd forgotten that almost a year ago the European Court of Human Rights declared that the DNA Database is illegal, yet since then 300,000 more people's details have been added. Contrast this with the BNP, who have today been ordered to close their books to new members until they comply with the UK's race relations laws. Does this mean that we expect higher standards of moral behaviour from the BNP than from our government?

1dilemma Fri 16-Oct-09 00:25:14

there are so many questions

what spidermama said (and incidentally why do you all fly off on a jolly to these climate change conferences with the whole entourage havn't you heard of videolink?)

childcare vouchers why are you getting rid of them?
(tax deductible childcare for all why just the self-employed?)

political meddling in the NHS

huge amount of wasted money in the NHS (PFI/management consultants)

public drinking

why is it that so many people would be better off financially if they were separated? we would be, bizarrely we would also be better off if we didn't bother working is this really sustainable?

what others have posted about more concrete support for families/middle incomes here in London a normal salary doesn't go very far!

house prices? are you aware a whole generation has been 'damaged' by this (I was going to use another word grin) please justify why high house prices are a good thing (surely they are a roof over your head/a home for your children not an investment) did you not see the article in the ES this week about needing to earn over 90K to buy an 'average' prices house in parts of London? Incidentally we wrote to you about this years ago Lib Dems and Tories replied you didn't does that reflect the importance you place on family homes or simply that you can't justify your stance?

what bossykate said about a windfall tax

if you are going after public sector pensions since they have been widely promoted as deferred salary what kind of pay rises are you thinking of bringing in to compensate people?

why is the achievement in schools so woeful (and the standards so low)?

finally in view of your well known 'no more boom and bust' comment how can you square the recent headlines about banks profits and bonuses with what is about to happen to the public sector? how can over 18% increases in tube fares be justified when some sectors are reaping the benefits of the lax regulation in London yet relying on the taxpayer to bail them out? do you actually propose to do anything? why not get Goldman to sponsor crossrail with this quarters profits instead of hammer the poor taxpayers?

lots of questions for you please pick one....

Quattrocento Fri 16-Oct-09 01:23:05

Let's talk about tax (baby) and spending

Lots of positive anti-avoidance measures have been taken recently - for example, the world-wide debt cap is a scintillating piece of legislation.

But I'm concerned that the emphasis has been quite repressive and indeed regressive. A top rate of income tax of 50% puts the UK at one of the highest rates of tax in the developed world. Discouraging entrepreneurial behaviours doesn't seem the best move in a recession

All the measures have been about raising revenues. None of them have been about cutting spending. What are Labour's plans to give the public sector a trim?

1dilemma Fri 16-Oct-09 01:36:24

(yes can I suggest the woman who stands at the door of the school marking my dcs as late when they are in the grounds before the whistle has gone just through a different gate as the first for the sack, surely we can save a big salary and public sector pension there?

heard about a new street naming executive job to join the LA street naming team the other day can that be second?

make a change from the usual Drs and nurses!)

Jayzo Fri 16-Oct-09 04:15:56

I echo FlamingoBingo's question about the home education review.
Would be very grateful if you would
take a moment to answer it.
Thank you.

Can someone please ask why the government are dismissing the Cambridge Primary review advising that children should start formal education later? I've already asked a question but heard about it on the radio this morning so if someone else could ask it I would be very grateful grin

wilbur Fri 16-Oct-09 08:33:19

Sorry if this has already been asked, but I can't read the whole thread as I am running out the door. I am going to try and be here at lunchtime, but in advance my question is:

- In July, when Goldman Sachs repaid the bail out loan they were given last year, was there a huge interest payment on top of it to thank the taxpayers for their generosity? And given that GS has just announced huge profits and potentially huge bonuses for their staff, how does the government propose to remove banks' incentives to make risky investments since it seems that when they fail, they will be rescued and when they make all the money, they get to keep it?

PS: I would really like this answered with practical solutions, will there be legislation? Will the FSA be given sharper teeth? Because self-regulation [hollow laugh emoticon] DOES NOT WORK and standing there wringing hand and asking them, pretty please, not to pay bonuses to people who have previously lost billions will not work either. The masters of the universe do not care what we think of them.

PPS: I won't post all that essay this afternoon, I promise MN.

MmeLindt Fri 16-Oct-09 09:55:02

Well done, MNHQ and welcome to MN, Prime Minister.

I would like to ask about voting rights for British expats abroad.

I left Scotland when I was 19 years old, for a year as an aupair in Germany. I had no idea that I would meet and marry a German man and (so far) never return to the UK. Before I left Scotland I did not register to vote.

Later I discovered that I am now illegible to vote as I had never registered.

Why is this a condition for voting rights?

Thank you.

<waves to Sarah> - Did you have a good laugh at Carla's drawing? She so obviously does not want to portray any other women looking attractive.

Buca Fri 16-Oct-09 09:55:10


I saw the article in the Independent today (which mentions Mumsnet) about single parent asylum seekers having their support cut, and I wanted to ask Gordon Brown why he is cutting support to people who are already so poor (and not allowed to work), and what impact this is going to have on children.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/allowance-cut-hits-the-vulnerable-180362 6.html

Hello Gordon,

I'm concerned that the level of maternity pay is still ridiculously low. We hear it is best for children to have one on one care from their mother in the early months of their life, yet the period for which women have full or 90% pay while on maternity leave is very short, and many women can't afford not to work so go back to their jobs earlier than they would like to. What are you going to do to change this/make the situation better?

Thank you.

hunkermunker Fri 16-Oct-09 10:06:51

Hello, Gordon (I feel I can call you Gordon since, after all, if you reply to this, you will be calling me "Hunkermunker").

Do you think that there is a danger that politicians are largely out of touch with people's concerns? And wouldn't it make more sense to make it easier for women-who-also-happen-to-be-mothers to have more input into politics/business in general by putting more family-friendly policies in place, instead of women having to ignore/suppress their mother status and conform to what is presently a male-led, man-friendly environment?

What's currently there is optional, really - for instance, I have a statutory right to ASK for family-friendly working, but my company can easily say no.

I appreciate it's difficult - make policies that are too rigid and you run the risk of companies thinking twice about employing women.

Or would you perhaps like someone to keep you up-to-date on this sort of thing, without having to run the MN gauntlet - if so, MNHQ can contact me on your behalf for my rather impressive CV grin I'll help you increase breastfeeding rates in the UK too; I'm sure this is one of your top priorities.

bananaboat Fri 16-Oct-09 10:08:26

Hi Mr PM - thanks for coming onto Mumsnet - much appreciated.
Do you get really, really cross sometimes when people the press have a go - do rant and rave and throw things behind closed doors? (I know I would). Or are you always as calm as you appear to the world at large?

aliceb4 Fri 16-Oct-09 10:19:42

Yes agreed Bananboat - don't you just feel incandescent with rage when the media picks at you about personal stuff - like about your health - probably not what you got into politics for I'd guess?

(nb thought the treatment of Ming Campbell and the way they banged on about his age was similarly awful - didn't you?)

Tambajam Fri 16-Oct-09 10:30:04


Just wondering how much of a priority you place on supporting and encouraging breastfeeding?

We know if a child is breastfed it reduces their chances of heart disease in adulthood yet campaigns such as 'change4life' make no mention of breastfeeding.

The national breastfeeding support infrastructure (e.g. national helpline) is currently held together by volunteers. In large parts of the country a mother is unable to receive face-to-face support from someone qualified to offer it. Midwives and health visitors may have had as little as 6 hrs training.

So many mothers and babies are being letdown. Government infant feeding survey revealed 90% of mothers how gave up in the first 2 weeks wished they could have continued further.


FourAndTwentyBlackbirds Fri 16-Oct-09 10:31:30

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Thank you for coming on to MNHQ to answer our question. It is very appreciated.

I would like to ask, please, if your government has any plans to increase paternity leave (and make it paid) or even - yes, I do dare to hope - introduce shared paid parental leave, where working parents can have 6 months paid leave each to care for their babies during the first year of their lives ?

Thank you very much in advance and wishing you all the best.

havewonderedforyears Fri 16-Oct-09 10:39:47

Why does housing benefit cover rent in full, year upon year upon year, even though some tenants have no intention of ever working full time, secure in the knowledge that their rent will be paid effectively forever, when people who have worked and secured themselves a mortgage get precious little help when they find themselves out of work, and have to wait a considerable amount of time for the little amount of help they do get? There is no sanctions or time limits that people in rented accomodation can claim for, and I am not the only one with this question. My local council cannot understand it either.
Some people with mortgages are actually worse off financially than people on benefits. How are you going to even up the balance?

oblong Fri 16-Oct-09 10:40:43

I'm not one to stick up for MPs but this Legg action on expenses is bang out of order. Seems to me he's arbitrarily decided expenses limits after the event, making MPs pay back money and look like they've broken rules which didn't exist.

So my question is a simple one:

Has Sir Thomas Legg exceeded his remit? Yes or no?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Oct-09 10:45:42

Thanks for all the brilliant questions so far folks. There are an enormous number and range and we are busy collating the most popular themes to ensure they don't get missed. Please dDon't feel you have to ask a new question if there's an existing one you'd like to see answered - you can just express a preference on this thread so we know which are the most popular iyswim.

Cinders02 Fri 16-Oct-09 10:48:32


Dear Mr Brown

When will the government correct the disparity between maternity and adoption pay?

Currently, there is no legal requirement for a company to pay a woman adopting a child the six week payment of 90% of her salary which a birth mother is paid.

An adoptive mother taking time off work needs the same financial support as a birth mother, especially as an adoptive parent(s) will be relieving social services of the heavy financial burden of a child or children in care.

Surely this can been seen as discrimination?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 10:50:53

I have asked a question about university places that no-one is interested in grin but I do think the issues coming up over and over include:

*childcare tax relief for the self-employed

*the issue of primary school provision, start dates and would be good to have a response on the Cambridge review published today

*Bank bonuses

*energy policy

*breastfeeding and midwifery provision

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 16-Oct-09 10:52:03

I would like to ask about the Cambridge Primary review in the nes this morning.

If the evidence is there that children benefit from a more informal play based education until the age of 6, why aren't the Government giving the report it's full backing and making the changes necessary to give all of our children the best start in education possible?


midnightexpress Fri 16-Oct-09 10:52:35

Thanks Justine. I've already asked a question, but I'd really like the PM to answer the one about childcare tax breaks for self-employed people that has been mentioned a few times (but which I didn't ask).

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 16-Oct-09 10:52:46

news not nes


midnightexpress Fri 16-Oct-09 10:53:26

YY and the Cambridge review.

Prime Minister,

Why has your government dismissed the Cambridge Primary Review's Recommendation 'to delay the start of formal learning to age 6'?

Many of us have personal experience of the damage done to our children by starting their formal learning before they are ready.

Well managed, play base learning is still learning - just learning that is appropriate for very young children.

DYTTSU - If you had stopped to proof-read you wouldn't have got in before me grin.

splodge2001 Fri 16-Oct-09 11:00:25

Dear Gordon,

Isn't it dangerous to cut education spend precisely at a time when if we are going to rise from the recession stronger we need lots of investment to make a highly skilled workforce?

Given the Tories record on education spend wouldn't it be good to highlight that their attitude towards education will leave us with an underskilled economy unable to compete.

scut2 Fri 16-Oct-09 11:03:41

I would like to ask the prime minister a question about childcare costs. Working mothers have a difficult enough time affording childcare and finding childcare which fits round jobs which have long working hours. Using nurseries which finish at 6pm is not really an option for people who don't finish work until 9 or 10pm and, for alot of these people (especially those who don't have family in their local area) these people's only option is to employ a nanny/childminder out of taxed income. As these employment costs come out of taxed income you have to be earning a considerable amount to cover the childcare costs (let alone other costs such as mortgage etc.) I note that childcare vouchers are available which give a useful tax saving but these are a small fraction of the total cost of childcare. However, if all childcare costs could be dealt with by such a salary sacrifice scheme this would make a huge difference to hard working mothers.

coveredinfelttip Fri 16-Oct-09 11:04:56

Hello Mr Brown,
Can you tell me if the government will act on the finding of the Cambridge Review and make learning for 4-6 year olds more play based as the Review recommends? I would also like to know if there are plans to abolish SATs.

My bright, happy four year old has just started school and she is not enjoying it, complaining that it is "boring" - not a word she has had cause to use before. Questioning revealed that there was too much sitting on the mat to learn and not enough play.

I feel that four is too young to start school but if that is the current law, we need to make learning at school fun. There needs to be more play to engage children - it has already been proved to get better results with learning.

We all (including yourself) have high hopes for our children's futures and the key to that is a happy school life where they enjoy learning. I really want to hear what you have to say about this.

jcscot Fri 16-Oct-09 11:08:26

Dear Mr Brown, welcome to Mumsnet!

I won't repaet the excellent questions asked by so many on the economy/childcare/NHS etc.

Instead, I'd like to know the following:

I am the wife of an Army officer who's currently serving in Afghanistan. I'm not going to ask why we're there (a very complex answer, I'm sure) but I do want to know why the government is not supporting the Amred Services properly.

Why is there such a short gap between op tours, in clear breach of the harmony guidelines?

Why is the refurbishment of MQs so under-resourced and behind schedule?

Why is the procurement system so woefully inadequate and unfit for purpose?

How is the Defence budget going to be affected by cuts in government spending?


...why are companies like FlyBe allowed to ban my husband travelling home from theatre in uniform because it might "...offend other passengers..."?

My husband is due home from theatre sometime in the next couple of weeks and has been informed that on his onward flight (using the MOD's preferred carrier, FlyBe) to Glasgow he cannot wear his uniform, meaning that he has to go and buy a set of civvies before he can fly home.

hatwoman Fri 16-Oct-09 11:11:12

justine are you collating questions/themes? so that G doesn;t have to wade through this lot?

I know this is mumsnet but where a question/issue/theme is actually about parents could I lobby for that to be acknowledged? I believe, with such a passion, that it is in mums' interests to keep dads fully in the debates and not to blur parenting with motherhood.

Ledodgy Fri 16-Oct-09 11:17:02

Ok all the serious questions I wanted an answer to have been answered so Hello Gordon. I would like to know if you ever cook at home and if you do what do you cook have you got a signature dish?

paranoiabigdestroyer Fri 16-Oct-09 11:23:06

I would be most interested in hearing about what the govt is going to do to help "middle class" earners who are stretched financially but not eligible for family tax credits. DH and I are middle managers in public sector our joint income takes us over the threshold BUT we live in S.E - mortgaged to the hilt with huge childcare bills, not a penny left at the end of each month. I hate to say it as I have voted Labour at every election - but I think my family might be better off under the Tories.

Also: echo the many voices asking for full maternity pay for 12 months - or at the very least 6 months / opps to split leave with father of child.

happyloris Fri 16-Oct-09 11:23:11

All the new scientific evidence about climate change shows that things are much worse than predicted only a couple of years ago. Once we get past tipping points such as release of methane from melting permafrost, this process is likely to accelerate and become irreversible. So greenhouse gas emissions need to peak and start to decline SOON. What will you do to ensure the UK's emissions fall significantly over the next 2-5 years, showing the other countries at the Copenhagen negotiations that Britain at least takes climate change seriously?

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 11:27:23

I am assuming my question will be ignored as it was by Ed Balls last time but:

Do you really think I as a stand-alone childminder, without any admin backup or support (who rarely if ever makes a profit) should be required to administer EYFS at the same level as a head of a children's centre, or a head teacher? And if parents don't want their 5-18 year old child to study under the national curriculum they can home educate or go to a private school. However it is virtually impossible for a parent to get exemption from EYFS for their under 5's - why is that?

RTKangaMummy Fri 16-Oct-09 11:33:18

Hello Gordon

I have an easy question for you

What do you like to watch:

on TV

and if you were able to go to the cinema or theatre

What would you want to see?

musicals or plays?


ByThePowerOfGreyskull Fri 16-Oct-09 11:42:55

Hi Mr Brown,

I would like to know if you think that God has a gender, and why.

slug Fri 16-Oct-09 11:43:25

Hello Gordon

Do you agree that Parliament is unrepresentative of the UK population as a whole? When I look at the list of MPs I see mainly white, middle aged, independantly wealthy men. To be honest, the thought of being governed by the Bullingdon Club gives me the heebejeebies. So what are you doing to make Parliament more representative?

It strikes me that the working hours are not condusive to family life, which is probably why you see few women MPs of childbearing age. Are there equal numbers of womens loos in the Houses of Parliament? How about breast feeding rooms? Is there a creche available for MP mums (and dads?) Is it fair to say that until you have family friendly working policy in the Houses of Parliament we will continue to see mainly men with the wherewithall to employ nannies or support Stay at Home wives standing as MPs?

Madsometimes Fri 16-Oct-09 11:45:11

How can we really end boom and bust for good? I would love to see Capital Gains Tax payable on the sale of all properties (maybe end stamp duty as a sweetener). Rising house prices are simply an asset bubble which has to burst and wreck the lives of ordinary people.

Yes I know the arguement about this proving a disincentive for owners to improve housing stock. Perhaps there could be an exemption if major work was carried out using a VAT registered contractor ...

I just cannot see how doing nothing will prevent housing crashes from happening again.

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 11:45:13

agree with vulpus, these are the issues repeatedly coming up, i would really love it if you'd answer. (on a selfish note, even the sodding 'cycle to work' scheme excludes us self-employed types cos it's administered through PAYE. we do drive places, you know... and there are more and more of us, Gordon, don't leave us hanging.)

*childcare tax relief for the self-employed

*the issue of primary school provision, start dates and would be good to have a response on the Cambridge review published today

*Bank bonuses

*energy policy

*breastfeeding and midwifery provision

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 11:46:46

much as i love tv and food i will be very disappointed if GB (of whom i am fond) answers those questions rather than the bigger issues.

grandmabet Fri 16-Oct-09 11:49:06

Hello Mr Brown

On the question of the banks, what provision has been made for them to pay back the vast sums of taxpayers' monty used to bail them out? Now that they are beginning to make vast profits again and award bonuses, when do they pay back? Should bonuses be stopped until they've paid their debts?

misdee Fri 16-Oct-09 11:49:30

do you think opt-out is the way forward for organ donation?

HeBewitcheditude Fri 16-Oct-09 11:52:15

Hello Gordon
Why has your govt already rejected the Cambridge report? Do you always know better than education professionals?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 11:54:38

It is very interesting the persistent rejection of evidence-based policy recommendations, isn't it? It does not bode well for the govt's confidence in our universities.

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 11:57:21

Prime Minister:

In reflection to the suggestion of supported housing for 16 and 17 year old mothers, what else is proposed to support and help younger parents? Also, surely, in reference to the supported housing, it would be better to house the parents and child together, if they intend to both be involved with the childs upbringing?



lambethlil Fri 16-Oct-09 12:09:23

I really hope you will implement the findings of Robin Alexander's inquiry into primary education, recommending formal learning be delayed until age six. Reports in today's Guardian suggest the review's findings have been rejected by ministers. Every education union, most parents and the rest of the world support a later introduction to formal learning. Please reconsider.

mustrunmore Fri 16-Oct-09 12:10:50

I'd like to ask why you get more help to get back to work if you claim benefits?

Of course I see that you need financial help if you are receiving benefits. But you also need help to retrain, which is often more than average people can afford. Even the jobcentre admitted I'd be better off on benefits hmmsad

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 16-Oct-09 12:11:42

Good Afternoon and nice to see you here on Mumsnet.

My question is about tackling waste.

Surely it is obvious that a good proportion of the Children's Trust Fund monies provided by the government will be blown, once the recipient reaches 18, on a party or some consumer must have item which will ultimately turn out to have been a waste of money ? I can't see that it is an efficient use of resources and believe it should be scrapped so that the money can be used to fund education instead to better equip 18 year olds to go out and earn their own living.

On a similar note re mis-directed funds. This country is bankrolling juvenile single parenthood and "multiple children all state supported" to a ludicrous extent. Hostels surely hark back to the old "Home for Unmarried Mothers", wouldn't it be better to think the unthinkable and offer financial incentives to young women identified as the target group of potential single monther future benefit claimants, to remain childless, payment for not getting pregnant rather than funding the consequences of getting pregnant ? Similarly there is a target group of women who will go on to have several babies supported only by the state (due to multiple absent/non-earning/feckless fathers) where the women concerned could be paid to stop reproducing for a number of years. This would surely save a lot of money all round if it was effective.

In summary, my one question is this. Can Labour think the unthinkable and implement waste reduction strategies which at the same time go some way to mending "Broken Britain" or will political correctness get in the way ?

stoppinattwo Fri 16-Oct-09 12:16:01

My question is a nice and easy one....

Is Mrs Brown a mnnetter <<narrows eyes>> ind if so do you snoop to see what she writes about grin

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Oct-09 12:17:16

Miscarriage, sadly, is a common occurrence and lots of Mumsnetters have suffered poor experiences of the NHS during this sad time. Because of that and drawing on Mums' experiences we've come up with a code of practice with suggestions of some fairly simple ways of improving the treatment of parents who miscarry - we'd be super grateful if you'd take a look at it and give it some consideration.

Jennyj2 Fri 16-Oct-09 12:18:01

I like Gordon Brown and think Labour are doing a great job for our children.
However, as a full time mother i have felt a pressure to 'get back to work'and put my child into day care since he was born. I think the help available to working mothers is really good and if mothers want to go to work they should be able to but does it need to be encouraged so much that full time parents are made to feel lazy and constantly have child care leaflets shoved in our faces?. I am a single parent, my sons father has completely abandoned him and for this reason i feel my son needs me full time i hope to stay off work and look after him full time until he goes to school.

Anngeree Fri 16-Oct-09 12:19:04

Hi Mr Brown

Do you really think all these breakfast clubs & after school clubs are the best way for children to be looked after while their parents are working?

My concern is that children as young as 4 are already away from home 6hrs + a day then if they go to these clubs they don't get a chance to wind down in a relaxing environment.

My worry is that if these children are being over stimulated now that in 10-15yrs time we'll have lots of young adults who are susceptible to stress related ailments just simply because they don't know ho to unwind.

I think the gov't really needs to be offering incentives to childminders/ grandparents so children can be cared for in the home environment.

mistressnicola Fri 16-Oct-09 12:25:13

Are the salaries of your spin doctors Kirsty McNeill, Nicola Burdett, John Woodcock (and all the others) paid for by the Labour party, or by us taxpayers?

Fruitbeard Fri 16-Oct-09 12:28:30

I've only got to page 9 and am running out of time so apologies if this has already been asked:

Mr Brown,

What are your thoughts on the Gary McKinnon case? I find it absolutely outrageous that we are rolling over to the USA and allowing this man's extradition.

I find it horrifying that we agreed to this treaty in the first place, let alone that there is no reciprocal agreement.

Do you not find it appalling that a UK citizen can be extradited to the USA and tried there for such a non-crime or (as in the case of the NatWest 3) for actions which were not criminal in the UK but are considered so in the US? Are there any plans to rescind this agreement?

(and well done on the handling of the financial crisis, I wouldn't have a job if it weren't for your actions)

paranoid2 Fri 16-Oct-09 12:28:32

Dear Mr Brown

I would like to know your opinion on the current situation where premature children are discriminated against and are forced to start school earlier that children born at term, in some cases children are in theory still 3 years of age. Ed Balls failed to address this question at all when he came to Mumsnet.I am aware that children can defer entry until the following year but that is even more damaging for the child as in most cases they will be forced to join the class that they would have joined if they had started a year earlier.
When is the government going to give parents of children who are born prematurely the option of deciding whats in the best interest of their children, some of whom will have encountered many hurdles before they even start school.

Thank you for taking the time to come on Mumsnet today

nappyzonecantrunfortoffee Fri 16-Oct-09 12:30:05

How do we know its really you and not one of your little helpers pretending to be?

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Fri 16-Oct-09 12:37:04

I would like to know if plans to scrap childcare vouchers are really going ahead, and why?

More incentives need to be offered to get women back to work, not less.

Thank you.

theroseofwait Fri 16-Oct-09 12:41:03

Mr Brown,

Another teacher here who had to go back to work when my son was only 20 weeks old to avoid the house being repossessed. Why is the maternity pay for working, married women so pitifully low when for all our working lives we have been supporting what feels like a huge chunk of the female population in their single, often non-working, parenthoods?

Is a few months off on full pay when I've been paying 40% tax for years too much to ask?

Also why can I not claim tax credits when I'm paying a fortune in tax? I have to pay childcare too, as well as the huge student loan and massive mortgage that your government has saddled me with, oh and now, I suppose I ought to start saving for my childrens' education as they'll get no EMA or help either. All thanks to me getting off my posterior, putting myself through uni and grafting. . . How is this fair?

treedelivery Fri 16-Oct-09 12:44:13

Hello Mr Brown

When my DH was made redundant in the credit crisis of Novemeber - the jobcentre advisor told us 'he was unfortunate to have worked previously [for all his working life] he will get very little support for his family or himself'

We nearly lost our] [totally affordable and within our budget house Mr Brown, and recieved jobseekers allowance and £8 council tax rebate per month. I sign forms day in and out for other 'types' of benefit claiments to secure surestart, fruit and veg vouchers, hospital travel expenses....the list goes on.

WOuld you commnet on the view that this county is unfair to some, whilst providing extensive support for others. There seems to be an overprotective nanny state on one face, and a blank stare of cold capitalism on the other.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Oct-09 12:44:53

We're delighted to say that the Prime Minister is in the Towers so give us a minute to get settled in, and we'll be off.

treedelivery Fri 16-Oct-09 12:45:21

Typo's!! To the PM!!


caramelwaffle Fri 16-Oct-09 12:46:00

I would most like to echo what
havewonderedforyears has said:

By havewonderedforyears Fri 16-Oct-09 10:39:47 Add a message | Report post | Contact poster
Why does housing benefit cover rent in full, year upon year upon year, even though some tenants have no intention of ever working full time, secure in the knowledge that their rent will be paid effectively forever, when people who have worked and secured themselves a mortgage get precious little help when they find themselves out of work, and have to wait a considerable amount of time for the little amount of help they do get? There is no sanctions or time limits that people in rented accomodation can claim for, and I am not the only one with this question. My local council cannot understand it either.
Some people with mortgages are actually worse off financially than people on benefits. How are you going to even up the balance?

treedelivery Fri 16-Oct-09 12:46:21

OOO is he actually in your building then? Or is he linked in from his sofa Very Important Ofice?

This is very exciting!

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:46:38

Hi all

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. This is my first webchat, so bear with me if I'm not as fast as you'd like! I'm really pleased to be making my webchat debut with mumsnet as there are loads of things the Government is doing for parents that I’m really passionate about; big choices we've made that have changed lives for millions of parents, things like flexible working, maternity and paternity leave and Sure Start to name a few. Looking at what’s already been posted, I’m sure we’ll also get to discuss lots of non-parent related issues too. Some of the big issues I'm working on every day include beating cancer in this generation and protecting our planet for the next generation, so I'm really keen to have your views on those too.

I’ll get through as many of your topics as possible and will come back on the main issues if we run out of time.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

natfrank Fri 16-Oct-09 12:46:54

Dear Prime Minister

As a Childminder and a Parent I would like to know why the plug was pulled on the Childcarelink website (A userfriendly directory of all childminders, pre schools etc in each borough across the country) before the Directgov website version of this had been set up correctly.

The Directgov version of the directory is still not working correctly and when I was able to locate my details after scrolling through over 3600 childcare providers details it did not say that I was a childminder and that I had NO vacancies which is not true - in fact I am desperate to fill my vacancies.....as are several other childminders I know....and therefore having a huge impact on our businesses!

Parents use the web all the time to search for childcare and are going to be put off by this confusing inaccurate site.


PLEASE PLEASE also look at the Mumsnet Code of Practice regarding miscarriage. This is an issue close to my heart having suffered a late miscarriage (21 weeks) this year and received appalling treatment from the midwives at my local hospital and I had to chase them for 2 weeks for any aftercare or follow up. (I complained and my complaint has been dealt with accordingly) I did however receive outstanding care from St George's Hospital where I was transferred to for the labour as my health had deteriorated (I have written to praise and thank the staff for the way in which they cared for me and my husband).

I look forward to reading your comments.

Many thanks

brimfull Fri 16-Oct-09 12:47:43

ooh i just have to post hello
and say I posted to the PM!!

GentleOtter Fri 16-Oct-09 12:48:28

Dear Mr Brown

All the other mumsnetters have asked brilliant questions.
May I ask what your favourite biscuits are?
We need to know.

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:49:05

Paolosgirl, Fabhead,loop9, Domesticlattern and many others,

I can see that Childcare Vouchers are a big concern to many of you, so let me take this opportunity to clear a few things up.

Firstly, no one who is currently using the scheme will be affected in the next 5 years, so please don’t worry about any sudden changes. We are phasing in the changes so that families who currently benefit don't lose out in the next Parliament.

Second, low and middle-income working parents will be able to benefit from childcare support through tax credits that are worth on average £68 per week for 470,000 families - much more generous than tax relief on vouchers.

And third, we are not actually abolishing the childcare vouchers. What will be happening is the Treasury will be phasing out the tax and national insurance relief employees receive for childcare vouchers, but companies will still be able to offer childcare vouchers to the people they employ and in fact, we expect many of them will continue to provide support for childcare.

We are making these changes because we feel that the tax relief is currently badly targeted. Around a third of the benefit for ESC goes to the 6% of parents who pay tax at the higher rate

But more importantly, we want to use the money to extend free nursery places to many thousands more 2 year olds. These nursery places are really popular with parents and they give children the very best start in life - helping to achieve a fairer society in which everyone can thrive.

brimfull Fri 16-Oct-09 12:49:09

and are you a tea or coffee person?

<Settles in comfy chair in anticipation>

Guttersnipe Fri 16-Oct-09 12:50:04

The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland really greets the electorate with the words "Hi all"?

Dear me, how disappointing.

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 12:50:56

<waddles on it and sits down to read>

bitofadramaqueen Fri 16-Oct-09 12:50:57

Apologies if this has already been covered but the reasonably short question I'd like to ask is:

Can the Government really only afford to extend the provision of free childcare to hard working lower income families by removing the tax relief on childcare vouchers which helps many hard working middle income families?

I can't log on for the discussion but my follow up points (depending on what/if any response by the PM) would be:

I agree that in these difficult times, the Government only has limited resources and want to target these at people who need the most help but the tax savings for two parents can come to around £150 per month - this makes a big difference to families who only just earn too much to qualify for working tax credits and in many cases, it's the only way that mothers of young children can afford to go back to work.

I also know that those who currently benefit from tax relief on childcare vouchers won't be affected, but I care about future parents too smile.

Apparently, 1/3 of people who take advantage of salary sacrifice childcare vouchers are in the higher tax bracket, but that suggests that 2/3's aren't.

I also know that too many parents don't actually have access to salary sacrifice voucher schemes, but I'd like to see the Government take action to ensure that more people can access this scheme. Perhaps it could be means tested though so middle income families still get it but high income families dont.

If it's about taking tax breaks/benefits away from higher incomes and giving the resources to those that need it most - why take away £150 a month from families just above the working families tax credit limit, while high income households (for arguments sake, lets say parents with a combined income of in excess of £100K) get 40% tax relief on pension contributions and get child benefit?

I do actually really hope Labour get back in though and appreciate the extended paid maternity leave and child benefit increases already introduced.

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 12:51:37

don't be ill-mannered, guttersnipe. (or should i call you Dave?)

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:51:40

To bossy Kate and others,

I'm as angry about the banks as you are - we are determined that we receive more money back from the banks than we have had to invest in them, so the banks will be paying us the public money not the other way round. On bonuses and pay we are setting international rules so that you can't escape by moving your employment from one country to another; pay in future must be about long term success, not failure. You'll find me making further statements about this in the next few weeks.

whispywhisp Fri 16-Oct-09 12:51:48

Mr Brown...

Please can you convince me to vote Labour at the next General Election?

We are a struggling (financially) family of four - both my husband and I work and yet we are financially worse off than we were a couple of years ago.

We personally feel the Labour Party do not do enough to help/support those families who work - yet there are 1000s of people who are claiming state benefit who could work and choose not to because they can't afford to do so - good for them!!

If by voting Conservative at the next election means more people have to go out and work to earn their money then we will vote for them. The whole benefits systems is a complete mess and its people like us who fund it.

Charges are going up, our wages don't. That extra money has to come from somewhere and it normally means its my kids who go without to find that difference.

What are you going to do about it? Also why do the elderly receive help with their fuel bills at this time of year yet we don't? We all have to keep warm!!!

bitofadramaqueen Fri 16-Oct-09 12:52:48

Oh, I see GB has already spoke about childcare vouchers while I typed! I hope he reads my follow up points!

Hello Prime Minister!

hatwoman Fri 16-Oct-09 12:53:20

oh Mr Brown - not abolishing them but phasing out the tax relief?could you tell me pray how, then, a child care voucher will differ from, erm, cash?

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:54:18

To Ted and others who are asking about the environment - yes, we do need an agreement in Copenhagen - and I'm going to go there and am asking other leaders to do so. We are putting forward new proposals in the next few weeks. On air travel we have air passenger duty, but we know we need an international agreement on aviation and shipping. All of us can play our part in cutting these emissions - why not sign up to Ed's pledge at www.edspledge.com - and I'm really pleased mumsnet is backing 10;10

Guttersnipe Fri 16-Oct-09 12:54:45

Oh I am sure Mr Brown has received worse barracking than that Aitch.

Come on admit it, it doesn't sound in keeping with the man we know as PM, does it?

hatwoman Fri 16-Oct-09 12:55:08

on the banks - how do you propose to balance the need to get value for money on our shares with the need to build their value in the long term - and not encouarge short-term rallies? when will the govt disinvest?

GypsyMoth Fri 16-Oct-09 12:55:11

Hello Mr Brown.....what about school holidays? will there be extra help for the long holidays?

the 6 week summer break is the one obstacle i cannot overcome on my quest to return to work. there is nothing out there apart from expensive,oversubscribed holiday clubs.

will the summer hols always be this long? any chance of reducing them slightly to assist working parents?

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 12:55:25

god, all you corporate and cooncil types whinging about your childcare vouchers... spare a thought for those of us who are self-employed and get keech all. (i will leave gordon to translate the jocko element of that post. wink)

Guttersnipe don't ruin it for the rest of us please.

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:56:08

Sarah and I are doing all we can at home - including solar panels on our house in Scotland. Believe it or not, we are advised that even though we are at the top of a hill, solar panels create more energy than a wind turbine. You might be surprised there's sun even in Fife!

JodieO Fri 16-Oct-09 12:56:37

"But more importantly, we want to use the money to extend free nursery places to many thousands more 2 year olds. These nursery places are really popular with parents and they give children the very best start in life - helping to achieve a fairer society in which everyone can thrive."

What about the parents that believe it's better for a child to actually be brought up all day by a parent and not looked after by other people? Is that not just a roundabout way of trying to force more women back into work before they want to? Lots of studies show the importance of a parent staying home to look after a child/ren and others also show that nurseries have a bad effect on young children. This seems quite discriminatory towards stay at home parents and their ethos to me.

corblimeymadam Fri 16-Oct-09 12:56:42

Dear Mr Brown,

Will your children be having the swine flu vaccine? Would your wife have had it had she been pregnant?

I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and I am very concerned about the speed with which the vaccine has been developed and the fact that it contains components which are not reccomended in pregnancy.

Many thanks.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 12:56:47

Arf at sun in Fife.

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 12:57:17

well the one time i met him he was deeply dishy and suave, in a scottish sort of a way, so Hi All sounds fine to me. aaaah, the old days... <waves with happy memories of GUU debates>

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 12:57:33

Oblong - on MPs' expenses we've got to get rid of the old discredited system as soon as possibe. Once Sir Thomas Legg has discussed it with MPs we've got to settle it for good. And that means MPs will have to pay up.

Guttersnipe Fri 16-Oct-09 12:57:55

Ah but you would say that, wouldn't you?

JimmyMcNulty Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:00

Dear Gordon,

Why is the government so keen to protect irresponsible people who took out mortgages at 6x income which perpetuated a housing bubble that has priced out a generation? Do you really think sky-high house prices are good for the economy? Why were you so keen to boast about the house price boom?

carriedababi Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:11

<settles down for lunch with the PM>

Guttersnipe Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:24

Sorry, that was to Aitch, not the PM.

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:27

Vaugely entertained by the fact there is sun in Fife... I must have missed it grin

anastaisia Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:29

(Not suprisingly grin ) I'd like to ask about the Badman Home education review. Specifically, can the government offer any real assurances that they are listening to the concerns of home educating parents about the recommendations of the report and that the Select Committee is not just a rubber stamping exercise for legislation which the government has already decided is going through?

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 12:58:56

oh yes, dh is a east-coaster. grin

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 12:59:08

tsk. an.

My DH asks wouldn't it have been better to let the banks go under and loans written off. Then we'd all have had more to spend, improving the economy?

Not my choice of question. I want to know about the biscuits.

LadyOfTheFlowers Fri 16-Oct-09 13:00:03

I would be interested in any answers to WhispyWhisps post?

JoeyBettany Fri 16-Oct-09 13:00:19

Hi Gordon,

what is the point of raising the pension age when there aren't enough full time jobs for young people?

cleanandclothed Fri 16-Oct-09 13:00:27

Dear Gordon

Could you define 'low and middle income' earners? It is an easy phrase to use but until we know exactly who you think it means we can't tell if it applies to us.

Thank you

fluffyslippers Fri 16-Oct-09 13:00:55

Mr Brown,
When are you going to allow us to exercise our democratic right and hold an election?

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 13:01:14

Seconds JoeyBettany

GypsyMoth Fri 16-Oct-09 13:01:18

when Aggie came for a webchat her fave biscuit was Nice....forgot to ask Ed Balls his favourite.

Mr Brown...do you have a favourite biscuit? please keep up the tradition...

bodycolder Fri 16-Oct-09 13:01:37

Can I ask if the govt truly didn't see the credit crunch/house price drops/bank collapses coming?I am an interior designer/developer and was warned at xmas 06/7 that this was about to occur and so sold up.I cannot believe that advice from local estate agents combined with others who had seen this type of cycle before was available to me yet the govt were in the dark?

plus3 Fri 16-Oct-09 13:01:39

Hello PM what are you most proud of during your time at no.10? and what would you most like to acheive?

'These nursery places are really popular with parents and they give children the very best start in life' Agree with JodieO - this isn't always the case. I'm sure the people in Plymouth thought they were giving their children the best start at nursery...

JasHook Fri 16-Oct-09 13:01:56

I'd also like more information on the swine flu vaccine for pregnant women.

I'm pregnant, and now in a rock and a hard place situation - damned if I have the jab, damned if I don't.

Pregnancy makes me scared enough without worrying about what my child will turn out like simply because I had a poorly-tested vaccine while pregnant.

A thought just occurred to me - didn't ask this earlier and I don't know if anyone did. I'm really concerned about the influence that the media has over events in our country. I think they are partly to blame for the way in which we went into recession, as all that was being reported was doom and gloom - and the forecast for more doom and gloom. Even when there were good news stories they managed to find negative ways of reporting on them.

I don't want a controlled press - I think the press should have freedom - but how do we deal with this undue influence?

Or is it only me who perceived that?

bumbling Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:00

Do you think it's fair to say there is a higher priority in government on getting mums back to work in the early years rather than giving women REAL choice and making it financially worthwhile to look after your kids yourself or choose to pay someone else to look after them?

The tax, tax credits, child benefit and childcare voucher sytems seem overly complicated and intimidating and none of them ever contain any provisions for being self employed.

treedelivery Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:01

Dear Gordon Brown

Do you cook and whats your best meal? It would have to be beloved by all the family and come in at under £10.

Tough times and all that. grin

<<wonders if grinning at PM allowed>>

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:04

HeBewitcheditude - on the Cambridge Report,

It's useful to consult with experts - that's why we commissioned own independent review by Sir Jim Rose which has been backed by experts, teachers and parents. On the back of the Rose review we're already putting in place the biggest reform of the primary curriculum in decades but the Cambridge report doesn't take into account we're already taking action.

And it overlooks that we're recruiting 13,000 specialist maths teachers and giving one-to-one tuition in English and maths to tens of thousands of children. And it also ignores the hugely successful Every Child Counts and Every Child A Reader programmes that give specialist early support for six and seven-year-olds.

Our reports suggest that it's better to start earlier than six. Indeed we want to make sure children are learning and playing from an early age and it's for that reasons we've reduced the nursery starting age to three, now looking at how some children can start at two, and introduced Sure Start in every community. If you want to add in more ideas for kids for the future go to www.labourspace.com.

MichKit Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:07

Dear Gordon Brown,

As a very recent naturalised citizen, I am proud to call myself British. However, I find myself disturbed by the slew of measures that demonise immigrants, as well as asylum seekers as 'living off benefits'. As someone who has paid high taxes, plus not received any benefits, I find it distasteful that the government seeks to make more money from legal immigrants, while doing nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

What would you have to say to people like myself and my husband who have faithfully followed every legal change in immigration law, however unjustified, but now find ourselves in the position of having paid out a few months' worth of salaries to be naturalised? Are we paying for the mistakes you have made by not putting in place stronger measure to curb illegal immigration?

jaded Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:26

Mr Brown
Can you tell me why a four or five year old is exoected to do the same length of school day as a ten year old? Do you think it is beneficial to a child this young to spend more time at school than with their parent? Is it just to accommodate working parents? Surely it should be about the child. So many children struggle to cope with such long days and may be put off school forever. Let children be children and let parents raise their children, not teachers!

traceybath Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:40

Mr Brown,

Will labour be looking at the pensions of public sector employees and letting us know how these will ever be paid in 30 or 40 years time. I'm specifically thinking of final salary schemes.

Thank you.

TanteRose Fri 16-Oct-09 13:02:42

Mr. Brown
Maggie Thatcher famously survived on 4 hours sleep. How many hours sleep a night do you need to run the country?

LeninGhoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:03:05

Hello Gordon, got to be quick, my baby's waking up:

Why can't MPs telephone and video conference and vote remotely? It would save a fortune, improve the work/life balance and get more women into parliament.


GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:03:05

To RnB - I've been meeting people who represent autistic children and I'm very happy to hear your ideas to improve the situation. We are looking at this, and please do write to me.

lonelyoldmadmoodluminchat Fri 16-Oct-09 13:03:14

Dear Mr Brown

I'm not a labour voter, and I probably never will be. On a global level, I'm extremely concerned about our presence in Afghanistan, and on a personal level, I feel that as a 'middle class' family, we have been penalised over and over again by the last years of Labour power.

However, one thing that I do always feel is that your personal commitment to doing the right thing, the very difficult job you do, and the terrible decisions you often have to make are often under-played in the media. I think you are a good decent person who works incredibly hard, and I think its important to say that, however personal and intrusive the media coverage is of you, there are people who do respect you and appreciate a lot of what you do.

<is it impolite to smile the PM?>

herbietea Fri 16-Oct-09 13:03:28

Are you going to answer the questions regarding the Armed Forces?

Hello PM.

What would you most like to be remembered for?

LordPanofthePeaks Fri 16-Oct-09 13:03:45

Please tell us what measures are in place/will be in place for dealing with alcohol? Why can we not commit to the sale of alcohol as a minimum price pre unit??

Oooh, I echo cleanedandclothed's post about definining income brackets.

sfxmum Fri 16-Oct-09 13:04:12

not exactly a question but a request

can you please pull yourselves together and focus, don't worry about upsetting some people and be brave

<sfx not too happy with what is going on but not keen on the alternative>

Mr Brown,
Depending on answer regardng favourite biscuit - do you dunk?

Thank you.

whispywhisp Fri 16-Oct-09 13:04:51

If I'm honest I have no time, whatsoever, for MPs. They are all on major money, claim for everything whether that be allowable or not and have absolutely no idea what it is like to live in the 'real' life - to be faced with debts, juggling kids and work-life and wondering where the next £ is coming from. This country is a mess and it is no wonder more and more are leaving it to live elsewhere. We need to shut the gates to anymore immigrants unless they can prove they can work and contribute something to this country rather than simply 'take', get more people out to work, cut back on benefits, sort out the NHS waiting lists, help those who work who are skint and help stop increasing all those charges that 'some' of us have to pay for...council tax, prescriptions, fuel, utility bills etc etc....

Mr Brown...have you ever been in a position where you haven't been able to pay for something because you have nothing left in the pot? Somehow I think not.

3cutedarlings Fri 16-Oct-09 13:04:56

Hello Gordon

My question is can you please answer RnB question smile.

By RnB on Thu 15-Oct-09 14:59:40
Dear Gordon,

As the mother of an 8 yr old autistic boy, I would like to alert you to the plight of many families. We endure a seemingly never-ending battle to get suitable help and eduction for our children. This includes things like diagnosis, appropriate early intervention, obtaining DLA and, of course, schooling*.

, is an 'invisible' condition which has a huge impact of the lives of families, and such battles are cruel and unfair.

What do you plan to do to improve this situation for autistic children and their families?

soupmaker Fri 16-Oct-09 13:05:11

Lol at TanteRose. I think I read someone where that one of the Brown boys wasn't a great sleeper. Welcome to our world PM.

wilbur Fri 16-Oct-09 13:05:11

Good afternoon Prime Minister. My question is:

In July, when Goldman Sachs repaid the bail out loan they were given last year, was there a huge interest payment on top of it to thank the taxpayers for their generosity? And given that GS has just announced huge profits and potentially huge bonuses for their staff, how does the government propose to remove banks' incentives to make risky investments since it seems that when they fail, they will be rescued and when they make all the money, they get to keep it?

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:05:16

To VulpusinaWilfsuit,

There are ten thousand more students at uni this year. Today there are more than a million students studying in our universities, an all time record. But we want to do more to help people get to college and uni. More people are receiving grants now than ever before, but we want to break down any other barriers that exist and we are happy to listen to your proposals.

FlamingoBingo Fri 16-Oct-09 13:05:46

Dear Mr Brown

As well as hoping fervently that you answer my question with regard to the home education legislation consultation, I also would like to ask a follow-up question about the age at which children start education. I have read a lot about children and education, as a home educator, and really find it very difficult to believe that there is evidence to suggest that starting children in education at age 2 can be a good thing at all! Where is the evidence for this?

ChildrensCentreMgr Fri 16-Oct-09 13:06:06

Hi Gordon

Firstly, I think the labour Government has achieved a great deal for Children and Families in the last 5 years.
Given that we will have a total of 3,500 Sure Start Children's Centres by April 2010, and considering the fact that public spending is going to be cut from 2011 exactly how safe will all these fantastic new centres be? I am aware that Children's Centres are being written into legislation soon- to what extent will the new legislation protect us? How prescriptive is the guidance on the number of Children's Centres likely to be?

Is it not the case that we will see some of these centres closing in 2011?

With thanks

A group of Children's Centre Managers

LeninGhoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:06:06

What snacks are you serving Justine?

Prime Minister,

On Wednesday, in answer to a particularly waggish question from a Conservative backbencher on whether you would 'soldier on till the bitter end'(there's always one), you said that you had a 'plan for Government'.

I am just interested in how the current public antipathy towards politicians and Westminster in general, fed mainly by the expenses scandals but also by Labour's long time in power, fits into this plan, and what you intend to do to fix it?

It's all very well talking about the Legg report, and the Kelly report, but until MPs actually start to live in the real world for a moment and realise that moaning about retrospective caps etc. makes them look like idiots, nothing is going to change. I would hate to see MPs going the same way as the bankers in terms of public opinion...


VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 13:06:18


<revives self>

<gets on blower>

onebatmother Fri 16-Oct-09 13:06:30


Hello Gordon - v good to have you here.

Social mobility in Britain is much lower than in other advanced countries, and is declining.

If this government's policies are not to blame, then what is?

I second the biccie question!

wrt WFTC, I can, hand on heart say it has made an enormous difference in my life as a single parent, and enabled me to go back to work even though I had to take a much lower paid job after redundancy.

I would like to know whether there would be some advantage if parties would acknowledge that boom and bust is part of a much larger economic cycle which is a function of the capitalist system, stop taking credit for when times are good, and being prudent with an eye to a future bust to minimise the effects?

At the moment, most folk think its the fault of individuals, rather than individuals and individuals working within particular organisations, when in fact it is a much bigger force at work.

eyetunes Fri 16-Oct-09 13:07:00

PM If you absolutely had to shag or die an MP..........?

Dear Mr Brown, could you persuade Sarah to come and talk to us as well at some point grin ?

MiniMarmite Fri 16-Oct-09 13:07:09

No, BecauseImworthit, you are not the only person to have perceived that. At the moment I feel like I have that thought almost every day. Particularly about swine flu and the recession.

I'd also be interested in the Prime Minister's views on this.

<MM didn't think of intelligent question herself so will have to borrow one>

Bleh Fri 16-Oct-09 13:07:15

I've already posted my question, but just coming on to say hello, I really admire you.

[fellow Edinburgh graduate].

HollyGoHeavily Fri 16-Oct-09 13:07:20

Dear Gordon

What is your position on electoral reform, specifically proportional representation? I live in a staunchly conservative constituency and I feel like my labour vote is somehow wasted (I can't bring myself to vote for the Lib Dems or the Greens!).

How can we make sure that every vote cast in the UK counts?


p.s. keep up the good work

JodieO Fri 16-Oct-09 13:07:30

"Our reports suggest that it's better to start earlier than six."

Other European countries have better reading and writing rates than we do, but start schooling later than we do. Why don't we follow in their steps? I think a lot of studies have shown that it's better for children, in the the long run, to start schooling later and not force them into it even earlier. Why are we asking children to start school so early? Is it about getting people working again? Even if that is to the detriment of future societies?

<enters the room>

<sits down>

fluffyslippers Fri 16-Oct-09 13:08:04

Why won't you intervene in the postal strike which is crippling people like me who run small online retail businesses?

Oh and another one here who wants to know what biscuit you favour!

FlamingoBingo Fri 16-Oct-09 13:08:16

It's almost like 'all the evidence says A but our one report says B so we're going with that'! Same as with the home education review, Jodie sad

policywonk Fri 16-Oct-09 13:08:19

Prime Minister, when you say that you'd be happy for people to get in touch or discuss ideas further, what sort of communication route are you thinking of? Would you be willing to meet up with a bunch of mumsnetters (those you've singled out, such as RnB on autism and Wilf on university places) to discuss certain issues in more depth?

oh I got a bit confused there, but I hope my point was made...

TanteRose Fri 16-Oct-09 13:08:48

pmsl grin at TWC

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:08:53

Welcome Prime Minister.
Questions already asked that I would like an answer to:
The Home Education Review - why are allegations that some Home Educators do so to hide abuse being considered when there is absolutely no evidence that is the case?

The Cambridge Review has concluded that children are starting school to early. Why are you ignoring their recommendations? Children in many countries in Europe do not start until 6 or 7 and their standards of education are much higher. Is this to force women back into work as soon as possible?

Why are all politicians and world leaders, including yourself, putting your hands up and hoping you will not be personally accountable historically for the legacy of climate change motivated by greed and short term profit?

Why are you doing nothing to prevent the obscene bonuses handed out to bankers such as those at Morgan Stanley?


JoeyBettany Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:06

I really like you as well Gordon, and will be voting for you again smile. Please answer my quesion about raising the pension age when not enough jobs for young people

aviatrix Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:06

Dear Mr. Brown.

What is your view of the report published today that children should not start school until six? And on the same subject, are you going to review the appallingly poorly informed conclusions of the Badman report on Home Education?

GentleOtter Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:07

Dear Mr Brown,

Please could you do something to help Britain's farmers. Thousands of us are struggling and living well below the poverty line.
Could you, for example, insist that only Scottish barley can be used to make whisky or remove some of the red tape/laws which are needless?

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:27


Child tax credits are designed to help middle income earners back up Child Benefit. Six million families will be receiving about £30 per week from Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for the first child. So we are trying to help where we can with some of the costs of bringing up a child. There's further help if your child is under one, and many people receive tax credits on top. We've brought the basic income tax rate from 23 pence a few years to 20 pence now.

sagan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:32

But Prime Minister do you really believe we should be getting more people into university? I speak as a graduste of 2006 who was recently made redundant from my (low paying) job, who cannot get another for love nor money. Vocational courses are what we should be encouraging, no?

CaptainNancy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:48

Good afternoon Prime Minister.
Mr Brown, when you say you've never done a webchat before, that isn't quite true, is it? May I ask why you chose to chat on Netmums back in february, rather than Mumsnet, and why Netmums receives government funding?

Having my second child recently, I was horrified to discover my health visiting service promoting Netmums as a place to turn to for help online. When I think back to the dark days of my first child's babyhood, I think the fluffiness of that place would have tipped me over the edge...

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:09:49

too early. blush

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:10:14


I know having a child is a life-changing experience and it has its challenges. We have come a long way in terms of improvement to maternity pay. In 1997, women were only entitled to 18 weeks maternity pay. This has now more than doubled to 39 weeks.

We’ve also more than doubled maternity allowance which has gone from 55.70 per week in 1997 to 123.06.

Rosa Fri 16-Oct-09 13:10:24

DEar PM-
As a British citizen having paid NI Class 1 and taxes for over 25 yrs now married and living in another EU country why can I not reap any benefits ( say a reduced Child benefit) of my contributions ( apart from a pension if I still keep on paying in ).
I am entitled to ZERO in Italy despite being told it is all reciprocal.
Can I have a percentage back then ? Or will my money go to pay the benefits of others especially those who don't pay a thing ?

Tombliboobs Fri 16-Oct-09 13:10:30

When you are creating policies, do you ever stop and think about what you would like for your family?

I also would like to express my vote of confidence in you personally, whilst not always agreeing with Labour's policies, the thought of David Cameron leading the country fills me with horror wink

<thinks about whether winking is appropriate>

carriedababi Fri 16-Oct-09 13:10:46

Hi Gordon,nice to have you heresmile

I would like to know your views on tax breaks for fulltime stay at home parents.

say in my case my dh could be taxed less on his salary as he is financially supporting the whole family.

and familys where both parents work are given help with childcrae costs

cleanandclothed Fri 16-Oct-09 13:10:51

Please don't use 'middle income earners' again without defining. Say 'people who earn less than' or 'couples who earn less than'...

MrsOak Fri 16-Oct-09 13:11:11

Dear Mr Brown,

I would like to know when primary school admissions are going to be reviewed. I am a mum who would like to work but my local council didn't put my 2 children in the same school. Because of this, I lost invaluable childcare arrangements so had to give up work.
I believe the admission rules do not put children, their education or families first.

Thank you

JodieO Fri 16-Oct-09 13:11:23

It does seem that way doesn't it FlamingoBingo.

mrsmandm Fri 16-Oct-09 13:11:45

Dear Mr Brown,

Are you going to do anything to stop house prices from rising again? The media are reporting recent rises as though it's a good thing, but most people with families are not able to buy family-sized homes (or even get on the property ladder). Rising prices might make people feel rich, but unless they're selling their homes and living in tents, it doesn't benefit them at all. And it doesn't create any actual wealth for the country.


herbietea Fri 16-Oct-09 13:11:49

Please can you answer my earlier question, and jscots about the armed forces, or are you cherry picking the questions to answer?

francaghostohollywood Fri 16-Oct-09 13:12:03

Dear Gordon Brown, I really hope you can answer my question, even if it looks a bit shallow.
I'm Italian, but I lived in the UK for 8 years, until 2 years ago.
How much embarassing it is for (any) English politician to deal/meet with Mr Berlusconi?

sagan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:12:07

Netmums?! Pah!

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 16-Oct-09 13:12:19

EXCELLENT IDEA, policywonk. you've got the focus group opportunity of a lifetime here, Mr B, should you choose to take it. i'm in (representing the bitter ranks of the self-employed).

restlessmog Fri 16-Oct-09 13:12:25

Prime Minister
I agree with your proposed policy to house 16 and 17 year old mums in quasi supervised accommodation instead of giving them council houses to allow them to learn valuable parenting skills and in some cases prevent ongoing cycles of bad parenting. What other things is your party intending to do to prioritise child protection and most importantly support protect and bring back the credibility of social workers trying to protect children in the eyes of the public. I ask this question not only in the light of the Baby P / S. Shoosmith employment tribunal case but also in light of figures reported by the times newspaper 15.10.09 "In a study of all serious case reviews published in the past year, Ofsted found 19 per cent of the 219 children were subject to a child protection plan, the system covering those in most danger. Yet despite their parents being under strict notice to improve care, and social workers regularly monitoring behaviour, they still suffered serious and even fatal abuse.

Of the 219 children, 113 died as a result of the incidents, 44 of them babies aged less than one"

<admires PW's direct approach>

midnightexpress Fri 16-Oct-09 13:12:31

<wonders whether it is unconstitutional for the PM to be seen to be endorsing a particular brand of biscuit>

I'd really like ot hear your views on childcare tax breaks fo rhte self-employed.

Mr Brown,

I have a 3 year old who will be starting school in Jan 2011. I would prefer her to start September 2010. I'm an experienced teacher and have seen first hand how a delayed start can affect a bright child. In light of the Rose Review, do you plan to consult parents and teachers and give them a say in when their child should start school? Alternatively, how about a move to the Scottish system? A single point of intake with no child being younger than four and a half seems much fairer to me.


onebatmother Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:18

Oh Capt Nancy well said

Scorps Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:19

Our local government have just made redundant the only two breastfeeding counsellors and family support workers in our rural area (w. Cornwall). Now we will have to rely on over stretched midwives to support us in the early weeks of breastfeeding which just won't happen. No more breastfeeding support, no morefamily support workers, no more teenage parent 'help' classes. It will only get worse, now. I, like many others, needed their support.

LeninGhoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:22

Good question onebat

JoInScotland Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:32

How do you feel about the findings of the Cambridge Primary Review - specifically delaying formal learning until the age of 6, and carryong on with play-based learning as featured in many other countries' education systems?

I was raised in another country, and a different education system, that did not begin formal schooling until age 6. In addition, I was born in December, so did not start school until age 7. I was so ready and eager to learn, and always loved school, never found any subject a problem, and am glad I was "older" and more ready to learn than children who were hot-housed and pushed into their first year at age 5.

Will the Cambridge Primary Review's findings be listened to and implemented, or is everyone far too complacent about carrying on with the way education is structured in Britain?

aviatrix Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:41

Sorry, I see you have answered the question about the Cambridge Report. When you get 5 minutes, try reading something by John Holt with your non-political head on and see what you think.

I would still like an answer to the draconian measures proposed in the Badman report.

wilbur Fri 16-Oct-09 13:13:51

Just seen he already sort of answered my bank one, so am going to ask a cheeky extra q:

My husband cycles to work though London traffic everyday. Cyclists are regularly killed by lorries which do not have the sufficient mirrors to see the street around them. New lorries must have these mirrors but there is no law to make existing lorries fit them and so people continue to die (have you seen the white painted ghost bikes that appear when a cyclist has been killed? I have seen two in last month sad.) More people would cycle and you would hit green targets faster if you made the roads safer - are there any plans to compel lorry owners to fit these mirrors?

Winibaghoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:14:00

Hello Mr Brown
My question is about the expenses scandal:
MPs have obviously been given carte blanche to use expenses as they see fit - there were no rules in place. if MPs are using expenses in this way because they feel they are not being paid enough, would it not make sense to raise the salary and impose rules on expense claims similar to what business people in the private sector have to comply with?
There would be far less cause for scandal if this was done surely?

crumblequeen Fri 16-Oct-09 13:14:38

Dear Mr Brown,

Is there any proposed financial assistance for mothers who choose to stay at home and care for their children rather than go out to work and take advantage of the childcare financial benefits and working family tax credits. There seems to be no balance to reward or assist childcare to take place in the home as well as for working parents who use childcare out of the home.

I would vote for any party who made this a policy issue and most of my friends, including those who work and use nurseries, agree that it is a disgrace that there is no financial benefit to caring for your own child at home.

jcscot Fri 16-Oct-09 13:14:43

I posted my question regarding your defence policy and I wanted to add that I am not a natural Labour voter but I still want to be an informed voter. Defence issues will be something that will affect how I vote and how my husband votes, so I'd like to know where you stand compared to the other main parties.

I have two small boys (3 and 1 years old) and their father is currently in Afghanistan, so this is an issue that's very close to us.

On antoher note, I think it's great that you're on here "talking" to the elctorate about the issues that directly affect us.

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:14:53

To RTKangaMummy and others,

In cinema terms I need to take my sons to see Up. On TV I watch a lot of sport. I used to be a teacher at a university and loved it. You've asked about the press - more and more people are hearing news direct on brilliant sites like mumsnet.

Bramshott Fri 16-Oct-09 13:14:54


We've signed up to mandatory 80% reductions in CO emissions by 2050, but (aside from any small impact the recession is having) levels still seem to be rising, or at best stable. How do you propose to meet this committment, given that 40 years is a short time to change people's lifestyles and habits? Why are you not investing heavily in renewables to start the ball rolling?

scottishmummyofone Fri 16-Oct-09 13:15:03

dear gordon

thank you for your childcare answer. can I draw your attention back to one part of your reply where you said:

*we want to use the money to extend free nursery places to many thousands more 2 year olds*

Will this apply in Scotland? I am aware that the Scottish education system etc is different from the rest of the UK and this may be an issue for the scottish government, but I would really like to see something like this in Scotland and would appreciate your response on this.

LeninGhoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:15:15

I can cover the LGBT/women into parliament angle. We could have everything sorted by teatime.

kneedeepinthedirtylaundry Fri 16-Oct-09 13:15:30

Dear Prime Minister,

When it comes to children below school age, do you think that it is important for their emotional and psychological well being to be cared for by one of their own parents, or do you feel that both parents should be working for the benefit of the country's GDP and it makes to difference to the child's emotional and psychological well being to spend a lot of time being cared for by a paid child care provider?

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:15:37

Morningpaper - you ask if I consider myself an unlucky Prime Minister? Not when I'm sitting here at mumsnet!

SexyDomesticatedDad Fri 16-Oct-09 13:16:07

Dear Mr Brown, will you still be leader of the opposition after the next election or will you take a job outside politics and what ever happened to Prudence she seems to have left a few years ago and never returned.

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 13:16:16

Ohh do take him to see Up. Its a fab film grin

Winibaghoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:16:28

Ooh Crumblequeen I agree smile

Jajas Fri 16-Oct-09 13:16:32

Apologies if already asked.

Dear Mr Brown

Grammar schools ~ are they here to stay for the foreseable future? I live in a grammar area, my children don't stand a hope of getting into one of them (premature twins, developmentally struggling). Only other decent school is a church school ~ will not play the church card. Last option are two strugging secondary moderns that I would hate them to go to. We pay 40% tax and yet cannot access 3/4 of the local schools and get left with the bottom choice?

NewShoesonMonday Fri 16-Oct-09 13:16:36

Dear Gordon

I'm sick of working my backside off to pay tax to support people who don't want to work. My husband and I are watching every penny with one child, yet I know of people who are having baby after baby simply so they can avoid returning to work, knowing the state will suppor them.

How can this be fair?

I'm not exaggerating, or slurring mums who stay at home. I'm simply talking about people breeding for income here!!

blueshoes Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:03

I second restlessmog's question on what is being done to improve child protection services.

Now Mr Brown, don't try and soft soap us...

<<removes biscuit plate and looks sternly at PM>>

ChilloHippi Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:08

Oh PM, you are so smooth!

PestoPumpkinMonster Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:10


Gordon Brown is really here on Mumsnet shock grin

Welcome! Weclcome!

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:17

To Justinemumsnet,

I know so many people who have suffered miscarriages and it's terrible, so hard for them and their partners. More help needs to be available, so I'm looking at the code of practice and will come back to you.

Swaliswan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:29

Good afternoon, Mr Brown.

I want to ask you about the rationale behind stopping the TA from training (and therefore being paid) and how you are going to help these soldiers.

Given that the TA only use a tiny percentage of the Army's budget but make up huge numbers of this country's soldier power, why is it that the TA has to stop training. Surely there are other areas that would be far more prudent to make cuts rather than stopping essential training for soldiers who will still be expected to turn up at Chilwell six weeks after the envelope lands on their doormat to report for a tour of duty in Afghanistan? I fully understand TA soldiers will still complete 'beat up' training before deploying with a regular unit but the calibre of soldier will surely decline when regular training is not completed thus endangering their life and that of their comrades.

Furthermore, due to the announcement of the money saving measures being via the press before it was communicated down the chain of command, there are thousands of soldiers and their families who still do not know what is going to happen to a vital income. There is yet to be clarification about who will qualify for bounty this year. The official briefing note states that soldiers will be able to qualify for their bounty but how is that to happen? Are they expected to do this as C1 training? Are you expecting my husband (his battery's only PTI) to help other soldiers qualify for their bounty without being paid himself? I also fail to see how he will be able to qualify for his bounty when his annual camp has just been cancelled.

I would like to think that our tax credits would increase due to our reduced income but this won't be worked out until April so until then we are hugely financially compromised. Not the sort of thanks that I expected from the Army after 'borrowing' him for a 7 month tour of duty in Iraq hmm

wilbur Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:32

<snort at Franca's question re Berlusconi>

carriedababi Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:38

do you or sarah usually mumsnet,you know come on here for parenting advice/chat? under different names of course!

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:45

excellent hilariously cheesetastic response to Morningpaper grin

Assuming your Right Honourable tongue was firmly in your cheek?

I am SO up for a Mumsnet focus group.

sagan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:17:46

That has to be the cringiest thing I have ever read. With respect.

basic Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:05

We save, we only buy what we can afford or we do without, we bring up our children to be polite and respectful of others (adult/child) but why? All our children see is no incentive/reward for living this way in the big wide world of school or on the streets.

Why can't your government be the one to really turn things around for real instead of token gestures or changes which show how little understanding you have for the real world and the people who are ruining this country?

ErikaMaye Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:27

MadameDefarge - grin

CMOTdibbler Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:29

Gordon - do you truly think that PFI for hospitals has been a good thing ?

The amount of money being made by the PFI providers is obscene, and the choice in high tech equipment for imaging and cancer therapy is being limited by the provider, rather than being appropriate to clinical need

GypsyMoth Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:29

what biscuits are on that plate!!!

hob nobs? chocolate? custard creams??

LeninGhoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:55

Shoot, my baby needs changing, back later.

fluffyslippers Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:57

Agree with NewShoesonMonday

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:18:57


Firstly, can I assure you that maternity services are a top priority for the NHS. Our aim is to recruit around 4000 more midwives by 2012. We've recently introduced a new choice guarantee for women which includes having a named midwife. Every SHA now has plans in place to ensure care is provided by a named midwife.

The latest figures show a 38% rise in the number of students entering training since 1997.

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:21

Gordon - you MUST do a Mumsnet focus group. It is you chance to save the country. I'm not joking.


paranoiabigdestroyer Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:29

I would second Jaja's question. I live and teach in Kent. What ever is going to be done about the grammar system? Working class children don't get in because of the tutoring circus and the 11+ here covers Maths which isn't even part of the KS2 curriculum e.g. algebra.

bumbling Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:35

Sagan - What bit?

nostrila Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:38

Gordon, what do you think of David Beckhams new beard?!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:42

ILoveTIFFANY Cupcakes natch!

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:42


I promise you Sure Start is here to stay! In fact we are on track to reach our target of 3,500 Children’s Centres by March 2010 – that’s one for every community.

I know how important they are for young families, especially in the current economic climate.

They are one of our success stories and something we are absolutely committed to continue investing in.

francaghostohollywood Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:51

But I really want to know! It's a vital foreign policy question!

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:52

Damn my sticky keyboard.

RTKangaMummy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:19:52

Thank you for answering my question


I think it is deffo brill that you are on Mumsnet

Yes you are right about the power of Mumsnet and also Twitter ~ I am a follower of Sarah


I can cover the part-time struggling working civil servant angle <hopeful>

springlamb Fri 16-Oct-09 13:20:23

Hello Mr Brown.

Could you please outline any policy changes you have in mind to include in your manifestoc to benefit SMALL BUSINESS.

Particularly interested in higher VAT thresholds, and lower Employer NI contributions for businesses employing, say, less than 5 people, both of which have had a detrimental impact on our business this year.

sickofsocalledexperts Fri 16-Oct-09 13:20:24

Mr Brown - as a mum to an autistic boy, can I write to you too about autism? I love mainstream inclusion, but I think we should be using behavioural methods in our education of autistic kids, as they do in the US. Our current methods are outdated and don't work. Actually I think our "normal" schools could learn quite a lot from the behavioural methods of teaching too, as we have gone too far in praising our kids rather than telling them "no" to unacceptable behaviour and penalising it. I am not some awful disciplinarian, I just believe kids need more boundaries than we are giving them, and that's particularly true of my special needs son.

Well, as a practising qualitative researcher, I'm happy to moderate said focus group.....

sagan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:20:36

bumbling- the bit about not feeling unlucky when at mumsnet. Those must be some damn fine biscuits up at the towers

ChilloHippi Fri 16-Oct-09 13:21:02

I have to agree with Sagen's earlier point about not encourage people to uni, but offering vocational courses.
My degree seems to be forcing me out of the market for work, unless I want to return to teaching, which resulted in me having a breakdown.

Speaking of which, Mr Brown, there needs to be a drastic change with regard to excluded pupils. I taught for many years in Pupil Referral Units, and I have seen pupils rewarded for bad behaviour and not encouraged in any way ti respect each other or staff. How do you feel about that?

LuluSkipToMyLou Fri 16-Oct-09 13:21:24

Why does the Building Schools for the Future plan penalise those areas that still retain Middle Schools? Because it is designed to provide funding based on a two-tier school system, students and children in Suffolk are being disrupted unnecessarily, highly rated schools are closing and teachers are either leaving the area or giving up teaching altogether. All of this is being foisted on parents under the premise that those children in Middle Schools are underachieving, when this is only true of a very small minority of children.

It is clear to parents, teachers and even the children that money would be better spent supporting those children/schools that do have problems rather than using a wrecking ball to fix a leaky pipe. Can the BSF programme of improvements not be flexible enough to support what is a well-established and very successful school system?

Dear Mr Brown, I would like to know how you plan to improve maternity services. So many of us have miserable and traumatic experiences in overstretched and understaffed maternity units year after year. We're promised more midwives and more birth choices but little changes.

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:21:40

We want to encourage and support more and more mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding.

Our advice is based on World Health Organisation guidance which recommends exclusive breastfeeding through its report Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding and this is backed up by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in this country.
However, we promote informed choice for mothers and their partners in deciding how to feed their infants and we fully support mothers in their choice of feeding method.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby and it has positive benefits for mum's health too.
Thirty two local health trusts across the country will receive a share of £3 million to support mums, particularly those from less well off areas, to start breastfeeding and to keep breastfeeding for longer.

Swedes2Turnips0 Fri 16-Oct-09 13:21:59

Prime Minister

Are you typing your own replies? I'm interested as I am keeping a record of Mumsnet Webchat guests' typing speed. You might be interested to know that Caroline Lucas is in the lead with a very impressive 170 wpm. And Alan Johnson is in last place with a very "not even second for the deputy PM role" poor performance of 0 wpm. Tsk.

VirginiaLoveGlove Fri 16-Oct-09 13:22:16

"Some of the big issues I'm working on every day include beating cancer in this generation and protecting our planet for the next generation, so I'm really keen to have your views on those too."

Can you therefore ask your health minister to consider how extending genuine support for breastfeeding mothers within the NHS can help you acheive both these targets?

At the moment we have a lot of lipservice to 'breast is best' but very very little genuine support at even the first hurdle after women have their babies.

Mr Brown,

'Our reports suggest that is it better for children to start earlier than 6'.

If by that you mean that the IFS report found that children do better starting school earlier then I am sorry IT DIDN'T. The IFS research doesn't provide any evidence for this. If you have other research on this pls let us know.

Jajas Fri 16-Oct-09 13:22:35

Dictating to a very fast typist I would imagine Swedes!

treedelivery Fri 16-Oct-09 13:22:55

I know this isn't allowed but my teeth are on edge concerning the midwife.

Mr Brown,
You can train a million midwives if it pleases you, but the trusts will not recruit them because they are independant finance driven managers who will cut corners to proved a safe service - not the good service women deserve.
I know of a midwife who is a receptionist, and 3 who work in supermarkets. Not through choice, becasue they cannot get work - or at least not full time work.

<<folds arms and looks furious>>

whispywhisp Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:02

Who is paying for your solar panels on your property in Scotland Mr Brown? Presumably the tax payer?

theagedparent Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:07

Good afternoon Mr Brown, Is that lovely Mr Ben Bradshaw really as nice as he appears to be?

GypsyMoth Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:22

i second Lulu!!

have had my quota of questions,but this is something i also asked Ed Balls,but went unanswered!


{grin] Swedes!

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:40

Gordon you need the Mumsnet focus group to steer you away from soundbites.

herbietea Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:43

Mr Brown, please, please, please answer some of the questions about the Armed Forces/defence.

With the greatest respect the fact that you need to take your children to see UP won't make me wat to vote for you, but to know how you plan to treat my DH and his colleagues in the future might.

NewShoesonMonday Fri 16-Oct-09 13:23:50

Gordon, I think that if you want to have the breastfeeding rate upped, then educate the health visitors, and make sure they're singing from the same hymn sheet, teaching the same methods, and that they STOP bullying vulnerable young mums and act professionally.

Bleh Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:00

Don't know if you saw my question before, but what plans do you have to try and encourage entrepreneurship in the UK? At the moment, it seems that a lot of the regulation is geered towards discouraging success (lots of H&S requirements for businesses, high taxes etc.). Do you envision this being changed?

megapixels Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:01

Mr. Brown

I like what you said re breastfeeding. You're a wise man wink.


LuluSkipToMyLou Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:18

Thanks ILoveTIFFANY, it's totally pants isn't it!

grandmabet Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:31


Grants are available for everyone to have solar p[anels - approximately 1/4 of the cost from both central government and local council.

CaptainNancy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:37

grin swedes!

ChilloHippi Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:49

Don't get me started on Ed Balls. He was due to visit one Referral Unit I worked in, but didn't show up. Not that he would have got a realisted view anyway as the kids had all be primed about what to say/do and the worse ones were hidden away.

Piffpaffpoff Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:50

Hello PM!

I've not read all of this yet, but can I just say that re the solar panels and ensuing hilarity at the idea of sun in fife - it is wall to wall sunshine here today so hopefully those solar panels will be sooking it all in for the occasional day when it is not wink.... (jings, did I really just wink at the PM?)

jcscot Fri 16-Oct-09 13:24:50

"With the greatest respect the fact that you need to take your children to see UP won't make me wat to vote for you, but to know how you plan to treat my DH and his colleagues in the future might. "


Well said, herbietea.

aviatrix Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:24

Typing speed is a long way from being the only impressive thing about Caroline Lucas. You could learn more than a thing or two from Ms. Lucas, Gordon.

sagan Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:25

theagedparent, I see Ben on his bike all the time. Always very smiley

midnightexpress Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:31

grin Swedes. Surely Shezza Goldsmith must be bottom of the league?

Soupspoon Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:35

Dear Mr Brown,

You announced a new 50% top tax band to pay for the fallout from the credit crunch.

Is such a high rate something that you also agree with ideologically, or would you like to see this fall again when the economy is back on its feet a few years from now?


frumpygrumpy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:43

Good afternoon PM, thanks for chatting with us, you are a braver man than most grin

<<removes Philip Treacy cardboard and feather creation pulls on green beanie>> my irritation is packaging.......I'd like to see all foods that can be washed, to arrive in our eco-friendly shopping bags just the way nature made them - gorgeously naked!

Can we do more? Can we just be a bit bold and stick our necks out and lead the world? Can we just say no and outlaw needless packaging? Let's make a LAW!

(And it would be great family entertainment to have public peltings with old squishy tomatoes for those who break the law grin)

Thank you!

paranoid2 Fri 16-Oct-09 13:25:43

when is any politician oing to answer a question on premature children starting school. Mine and other questions have been resolutely ignored by Ed Balls and you and vague answers are coming back about 6 being too late to start etc etc. What about the specific question of premature children starting earlier than their peers?

hatchypom Fri 16-Oct-09 13:26:03

Dear Mr Brown
I have recently bought a cochlear implant upgrade for my daughter, without it she is profoundly deaf. Why did I have to pay almost a £1000 for the VAT on a medical device ? Its hardly what I would describe as non-essential

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:26:12

Agree NewShoesonMonday.

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:26:19


we are proud not just of our armed forces, but of our forces families and the amazing support you give to our people in Afghanistan. I have visited our troops in Afghanistan in the last year and a bit. We will do everything we can to make sure that every aspect of the military covenant is honoured. We have increased the support on the ground, with vehicles and equipment, and our duty is to make sure that everyone who serves in Afghanistan is fully equipped for the tasks we give them. Can you please thank your partners, and all our forces, for the amazing work they do.

onebatmother Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:21

NewShoes excellent point about need for health professionals involved with breastfeeding support to sing from the same hymn sheet.

It's all very well educating mothers, but unless they get educated support in those first days..

Jajas Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:31

Allied to my grammar school question paranoid2 I'm with you on the premature children schooling question ~ not just start date but all the way through.

Quattrocento Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:42

Oh I'd like the answer to the tax question, but most of all I want to know about the typing speed thing? Are you a hunter and a pecker or a bona fide touch typist?

Hello Gordon smile

RTKangaMummy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:49

Hello Gordon

This is a question from my son {kangaboy}

Which is your favourite STAR WARS film?

Do you like the original ones or the new ones?


CaptainNancy Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:51

hatchypom- that is abominable.

VirginiaLoveGlove Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:53

Hmm, £3 million divided by 32 over how long?

do you realise that at the moment the NHS spends £0.16 per year per mother on supporting breastfeeding while formula companies spend $20 per year per mother on promoting their products to new mothers?

Breastfeeding doesn't stand a chance, does it. sad

NewShoesonMonday Fri 16-Oct-09 13:27:53

hatchypom, that is outrageous - without sounding trite, I thought VAT on tampons was bad. Mr Brown, you MUST answer HATCHYPOM's question and ensure she's recompensed!

MichKit Fri 16-Oct-09 13:28:24

What about issues about immigration Mr Brown?

When is illegal immigration going to be addressed, so that legal immigrants can live in peace and not be shouted at on the street, pilloried in newspapers and treated like outsiders, just because they look different and maybe ocasionally have a different accent?

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:28:48

I know that ESC is not available for the self-employed, however self-employed parents can benefit from a number of other Government childcare schemes such as the free part-time nursery places for three and four year olds, and this provision has been extended to many more two year olds. The childcare element of the Working Tax Credit also offers help with childcare costs for working families on middle and modest incomes.

pofacedandproud Fri 16-Oct-09 13:28:59

Quite Virginia. It is a tiny amount.

hatchypom Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:08

I thought so - apparently the hospitals pay it as well, as is the case (as i understand) with hearing aids (robbing peter paying paul) classic sign of introducing inefficiencies in government.

jcscot Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:11

"Can you please thank your partners, and all our forces, for the amazing work they do. "

I'll pass that on but it's cold comfort when they're away on repeated op tours and we families are living in substandard accomodation.

You haven't answered my questions - what are your defence budget plans in light of the cuts that will have to be made in govt spending? Will you stop breaching the Harmony Guidelines?

Fully equip? Well, it's better than it was but there are still things that we had to pay for out of our own pocket.

herbietea Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:13

Gordon, it is not just about the men and women in Afghanistan, it is about those here in this country and all over the world.

Do you actually know how overstretched they are?

Have you actually been in a MQ and seen the squalor we are supposed to be happy living in?

FWIW I don't think being proud of them is enough.

Good afternoon Mr Brown,

I'd just like to thank you for a difficult job well done.
Can you slip the word "NORKS" into your next speech - only then will I believe that Gordon is on the other side of my PC screen.

Thank you!

Pollyanna Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:33

Hello Mr Brown

My question is; will you scrap car parking charges in hospitals for cancer patients who are out patients? (I know that you have done this for inpatients already).

(and for what it's worth, I am another one whose autistic child has been completely let down by the health and education system in this country)

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:41

Dear Gordon

Will you promise to give up the government's love of large IT databases and obsessive monitoring of/interference in the private lives of citizens?

I'm talking about ID cards (waste of money inherently insecure), the NHS electronic database (ditto), Ofsted interfering in private arrangements between families, councils using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to snoop in our dustbins or when we apply for school places. There has been a drift towards Big Brother in many aspects of public life. Please stop it.

NewShoesonMonday Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:53

I got told by a health visitor (who was clearly just out of her straitjacket) that I should make a burger out of my nipple. work that one out.

A few days later and bleeding I had to give up. Some of these women are showing us very difficult ways of doing something which should be natural, and I crucified myself for ages that I just couldn't do it!

Bleh Fri 16-Oct-09 13:29:54

Oh yes MichKit. As an immigrant who has NEVER claimed benefit, barely uses the NHS and has paid thousands and thousands in taxes, I'm fed up with being called lazy and a benefit scrounger in the stupid press, and blamed for society's ills.

Reallytired Fri 16-Oct-09 13:30:18

What are you going to do about the shortage of health visitors? In my area only families on the at risk register get visits.

Winibaghoul Fri 16-Oct-09 13:30:20

What counts as middle or modest though? We have a household income of 25,000 and get virtually no tax credits

midnightexpress Fri 16-Oct-09 13:30:42

Yes, but Mr Brown, those things are also available to people who are not self-employed, aren't they, in addition (currently) to the voucher system.

cleanandclothed Fri 16-Oct-09 13:30:42

Dear Prime Minister

Please, please. Not 'middle and modest incomes' it is a term designed for us to feel it applies to us when it probably doesn't. Please use 'People who earn less than' or 'couples who earn less than'

Have confidence in the levels you set and be clear!

Thank you

GordonBrown Fri 16-Oct-09 13:31:16

Cammelia and all those who have asked about a married couples tax allowance,

the problem with the Married Couples Tax allowance was that it actually went to married, seperated and divorced couples, when most people want to help children. So we thought the best help we could give to children was to replace it with the Children’s Tax Credit. Together with other measures we’ve introduced, this has helped to lift some 500 000 children out of poverty - and make 7 million families with 12 million children better off.

We believe this is a fairer system.

wheredidiputmyfone Fri 16-Oct-09 13:31:17

Good question edam, when will the surveillance state be considered built Mr Brown??

mellifluouscauliflower Fri 16-Oct-09 13:31:23

Dear Gordon

I am sure I could find this out if I read more pages of the better papers, but I always prefer to ask an expert..

We hear a lot about the country borrowing all this money. Who exactly are we borrowing the money from? It's not Goldman Sachs, I hope..


bossykate Fri 16-Oct-09 13:31:26

Dear Gordon, thank you very much for answering my question smile

I think that means I'm allowed a follow up now.

Do you think the sacrifices made by herbietea, jcscot, their families and partners are being made in a good cause in Afghanistan given the corrupt and inhumane regime in power there?

Am very pleased with how this is going, and more hopeful that Cameron and Osborne won't be in charge any time soon!

Thank you again for coming to talk to us.

catsmother Fri 16-Oct-09 13:31:44

Hello Gordon,

Can I ask what your long term proposals are regarding the pension crisis ??

Leaving aside the fortunate few with final salary pensions, most of us face the unattractive prospect of working for as long as we possibly can (easier said than done, for various reasons) and/or existing, not living, in poverty in old age.

We know the principle behind saving for your old age but this is literally impossible for many working people whose whole income is needed to live now (and that's for basic day to day necessities like food, utilities and housing costs - not holidays !)

Many of today's pensioners already live exist in penury, despite much of the previous generation, arguably, benefitting from final salary pensions, cheaper property and so on, which this generation (generally speaking) do not. Is our future going to be even worse ?

Old age truly terrifies me - and many milli