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Yvette Cooper - secretary of state for work and pensions - live on Mumsnet this Tues, 27 April, 2-3pm

(101 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Apr-10 16:32:48

Yvette Cooper is secretary of state for work and pensions, and has been Labour MP for Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley since 1997.

She's coming to Mumsnet to talk about Labour's family policies tomorrow from 2-3pm.

Yvette was born in Inverness in 1969. She's married to Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, and they have three children (two daughters and one son).

Feel free to post your questions here and join us tomorrow (and please read our webchat guidelines).


Oooh! I like her, but am confused. Dept of Work and Pensions is the old Dept of Employment? And isn't it Ed Ball's dept that is Families and Schools?

Ewe Mon 26-Apr-10 16:47:30

Hi Yvette

Welcome to MN!

If there were an option for both you and Ed to run for leader of the party, would you stand back or go for it?

I am always intrigued by couples who work alongside each other, especially doing what you do at this time of year! The fact that Ed is hotly tipped for a Portillo moment this year can only make it worse.

Also, HIPs have been generally considered to be fairly useless, do you still support the introduction of them and will they continue to be compulsory if Labour win another term?

AngryWasp Mon 26-Apr-10 17:13:53

Can I ask whether you truly believe that we have an aging population? My dad is stats whiz and reckons the generation between the wars are surviving longer because of their diet at key developmental stages in their lifes, but actually, the generations behind, with their unhealthy lifestyles are set to die much earlier, and yet, the pension age has risen and is set to rise again?

magqueen Mon 26-Apr-10 17:23:27

Hello Yvette.I would like an explanation as to why this government is avoiding doing what the Ombudsman ordered as regards Equitable Life pensions compensation. It would appear that the consensus in the Labour Party is that we are all rich enough to be able to write off all the money we have paid in. I am one of the lowest earners in the country and face a very uncertain old age.

herbietea Mon 26-Apr-10 18:16:46

Hello Yvette.

I receive DLA and the forms are a nightmare. I am intelligent, yet it means me having to sit down for hours at a time just to wade through them. Now, I understand that the DWP need a clear picture of what you can and can't do, but could the forms for this, and other, benefit not be a little less complicated?

I feel let down by this Government as you have enabled more and more people to leave school, go on benefit, as a lifestyle choice and never be checked, but geniune people like myself are vetted and checked on at least a 3 yearly basis.

PS Did you clout shout at Ed when he answered his phone whilst driving?

FioFio Mon 26-Apr-10 18:26:58

Do you think it is fair when a woman who is a main carer for a member of her family (be it a severely disabled child or parent, or sibling) makes a choice to go into higher education to better her career advances (an d have more choice, which she needs), she gets her carers allowance taken off her even though realistically her caring responsibilities are exactly the same, if not more, than before? If her husband/partner earns over approx 23k she will be worse off trying to better herself in order to pay more into the tax sytem than take out of it. Do you see any sense in this kind of situation of cutting carers money and allowances even though it would benefit everyone involved (including DWP) long term? Also do you agree that carers have to pay full tuition fees at university?

I also think it is a chronic situation where carers who work under the tax threshold limit get pestered (and their money stopped) for wage slips all the time. It gives people who want to work but do not earn much, no incentive to carry on in my opinion.

Bongobaby Mon 26-Apr-10 18:28:20

I would like to ask. Why labour sit back and
happily dole out benefits to single mums. So
that they can support their kids. It's simple maths
really. Make the fathers pay their way. And the
dismall huge benefits bill wouldn't be so large.
And a burden on the taxpayer!!!

FioFio Mon 26-Apr-10 18:31:17

With respect to child support payments. Why is is it so difficult for a non resident parent to apply for a variation even if he has a severely disabled child? I do not know anyone who has managed to get one without getting their MP involved and I know alot of people with severely disabled children, unfortunately

LeninGrad Mon 26-Apr-10 18:34:07

What needs to happen to get more women to make their own pension provision?

What was the thinking behind reducing the number of qualifying years needed for a State Pension to 30? (Great move, especially for women, but how is it affordable?)

LadyBlaBlah Mon 26-Apr-10 18:55:41

Hi Yvette

I am intrigued by your Welfare to work schemes and The (Flexible) New Deal. I look at organisations like A4e and wonder how their founder can be worth an estimated £40m, when they have delivered no concrete or measurable results? (I mean specifically that they provide absolutely no figures for how many people they have placed into full time long term employment and instead seem to be paid by 'bums on seats' for their 'training' courses)

Would you agree there has been a New Deal Gravy train and people have profited a LOT from providing very little?

Why do you not follow the America Works model ? By that, I mean, only pay these private sector companies if they can prove they have placed people in LONG Term employment, and not paying them just for training them in generally (IMO) useless skills.

I would also be interested in research that you have that shows that 'training' people, as provided by companies such as A4e, has any effect on getting people back to work? I have found none. All the research points to attitudinal training being effective, yet this is never undertaken by any of the providers.

The fact that Emma Harrison of A4e is worth over £ 40m is an uncovered scandal. The tories would have a field day.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 26-Apr-10 19:14:15

Another question with regard to DLA.

Do you think that age 16 is the right age to assess a disabled young person as an adult? Because of the DWP timescales realistically it means that a young person is actually assessed up to 6 months before their 16th birthday and in the case of my daughter a whole 14 months before she could legally leave school. I have had this conversation with the Minister for the Disabled who insists that 16 is the right age because it is the age when one can claim employment related benefit. This seems irrelevant to me because claiming one does not preclude the other confused Otherwise (sorry) would it not be possible to incorporate some flexibility into DLA awards whereby the award continues to 18 as long as the young person was in full-time education, along similar lines to Child Benefit and CTC. Once it is compulsory to remain in education/training until 18 it would make sense to assess at 18.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 26-Apr-10 20:13:11

Autism is worth up to 6 million votes (number of children, families and friends affected by autism)

If David Cameron can spend £50k on a cancer drug for someone with limited life expectancy - why can't we afford 2-3 years of intensive autism intervention for a healthy pre school child with a normal life expectancy? Or is it just that more people with cancer can vote?

What are your views on early intervention for autism? Despite your avalanche of initiatives (Early Support, every Child Matters, Together from the Start etc etc) I can tell you that nothing has changed on the ground. Local Authorities still block costly (but effective) interventions for children and drag out the SEN process until children are 5 or older.

What is the point of getting an autism diagnosis at 2 if there are no services until 5?

Why are you letting LA Autism Outreach teams and Special Schools pursue eclectic /TEACCH approaches for autism when all the research shows they have the least evidence to support them compared to behavioural / ABA models? The ASD Guidance was based on pre 1998 research and is now obscenely out of date. Behavioural methods particularly for under 5's have been upheld again and again as the most effective.

Why can't we have NICE type guidelines to set a minimum intervention level for autism eg 25 hours a week (as in USA) and 10,000 hours in 2 years (as in Australia)? Surely deciding on expensive (but in the long term probably economically sensible) autism programmes should have national guidelines not be left to local councils. Indeed why can't you leave our children in the NHS until they are 5 rather than try and shoehorn them into an education system which does not want to pay for them and causes unnecessary delay. Why can't we have autism developmental paediatricians who can write a prescription of intervention for our children based on clinical evidence and best practice? And start intervention from first suspicion not from diagnosis. Its not uncommon to wait 18 months for any help to start.

Has anyone ever actually monitored whether eclectic / outreach model common in UK has improved outcomes for children with autism? Do you consider that 1 hour access to a specialist autism teacher per term is effective early intervention for a barely verbal non social 2 year old? This is what Outreach means in practice. Untrained 20 year old nursery carers left to get on with it.

When the best ABA programmes in USA say that less than 5% of moderate / severe autistic children leave their programmes unable to speak; are you ashamed that the figure in UK (if you bothered to count) is more like 50%?

Why is only 3% of autism research money spent on assessing intervention treatments? What parents want more than anything else is effective evidence based treatment.

NinthWave Mon 26-Apr-10 20:13:54

Hi Yvette

Please don't make me redundant if you win the election


A JCP employee

BoffinMum Mon 26-Apr-10 20:55:00

Given that Capita have such a bad track record of being careful with people's data, why is it that they are responsible for so many DWP databases?

onadietcokebreak Mon 26-Apr-10 21:12:24

*When are government departments actually going to be allowed/able to practice the family friendly policies?** Im talking JCP Processing centres.

Flexi time has been eroded.

Part time working requests results in an intense battle that damages any further promotion changes...term time working is laughed at as unworkable.

I could go on all night but wont.

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Apr-10 00:41:00

oh. wanted to ask a DLA/ carers/ access to work/ access to specialist childcare question, but i think you have plenty to be going on with! grin

Mumcentreplus Tue 27-Apr-10 01:12:51

Hi Yvette, as a DWP employee and 'proud' smile you came to visit my JCP earlier this year..I would love to see JCP breaking down barriers for the unemployed...not just passing them on to providers that take 13-19 wks to achieve [or not] what can be done in a couple of weeks!..its money wasted... SIA cards,CSCS cards,Passports,Fork-lift/PCO licenses,training etc readily available for more people at the advisers discretion...time,money and encouragement spent on 'jobseekers' not,on 'providers'..consulting Advisers and Assitant Advisers those who work with customers/clients...also more encouragement of the appreciation for what civil servants do...we work hard and try our best [well i do] we dont drink tea and moan [contrary to popular belief!!grin]..we want to make britain a place of inspiration,education and employment and I think we are short changed in this regard..

RedLentil Tue 27-Apr-10 01:36:00

It looks impossible that the 'first past the post' system will survive after this election. If it goes, what will the consequences be for the relationships between MP and constituents?

<places self firmly behind Agnes in the queue of people to be answered>

onadietcokebreak Tue 27-Apr-10 08:08:10

mumcentreplus couldnt agree more...its scandlous the amount that is wasted in outsourcing to providers.

LeninGrad Tue 27-Apr-10 09:12:58

Women are very absent from this election, why is that?

duffy Tue 27-Apr-10 10:30:14

Hi Yvette, I've noticed there's a concerted Tory campaign to oust Ed (your dh) from his seat - they're aiming for a Portillo moment, they say and have raised quite a lot of money for the Conservative candidate standing in your dh's constituency. It must feel really weird and personal to see your husband targeted in this way - does it make you really hate the Tories?

HousewifeOfOrangeCounty Tue 27-Apr-10 10:43:21

Hello Yvette

I started a small self employed business a couple of years ago that I had to fold due to childcare costs. Why are the self employed not able to claim childcare against tax? I wasn't making loads of money, but enough to give us more disposable income as a family - say to have a lovely holiday every year.

Many women are looking for the holy grail - the career that fits around school hours, but unfortunately it rarely exists. Therefore if I want to work my three children have to go to an after school/holiday club. Making these costs tax deductable would have made a big difference to me and would have enabled me to continue working (and paying tax).

mmrsceptic Tue 27-Apr-10 12:03:18

What about me? is my question.

I gave up work to look after the children. I'll have a ten year gap in my NI contributions. So what happens to my pension? It shouldn't be reduced, I worked really hard in that time. How am I affected?

LeninGrad Tue 27-Apr-10 12:06:26

You get Home Responsibilities Protection mmrsceptic which protects your NI record for pension purposes.

mmrsceptic Tue 27-Apr-10 12:25:35

oh thanks Lenin! thank you so much! will look it up

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 12:26:51

As there haven't been many questions, can I be cheeky and sneak in another?


This is part of what you said today " Ms Cooper said Labour wanted to help all children, not just some," (from the BBC news website. You don't help my children.

My children are teenagers and there has been no help for families with teenagers since Labour got into power. I have to pay VAT on their PE kits and school shoes (as well as all their civvie clothes) and not one MP has stepped up to the mark and tackled this.

Where are the Youth Centres? There isn't one around here.

I am sick and tired of the Labour Party focusing all their 'family policies' around toddlers and maternity/paternity pay and leave. The family unit goes further than that and it is a pity that you can not see that.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 12:52:31

testing, testing, 123

longfingernails Tue 27-Apr-10 13:06:51

In your ideal vision for the UK economy, what should the optimum percentage of state spending as a proportion of GDP be, and why?

Mumarch Tue 27-Apr-10 13:21:01

21 years ago I had my first baby and could not understand why I could set off other things that enabled me to be a self employed person against tax, except that one thing that enabled me to work (and pay tax). The sums became ridiculous. I didn't give up, but know many who did. Still at it now although public childcare provision has got much better.

BoffinMum Tue 27-Apr-10 13:22:22

I agree with Herbie. The teen years are the toughest, yet childcare and family support fizzle out at exactly this stage. Apart from patronising parenting classes for the truly dysfunctional referred to clinics.

CaptainNancy Tue 27-Apr-10 13:22:24

I would like to know how you personally think more women can become involved in politics whilst caring for their families?

Do you feel that your children have missed out at all, particularly as both their parents are in that business?

manfrom Tue 27-Apr-10 13:30:04

Hi Yvette,

why aren't any politicians being honest with us about the scale of the cuts that are (already) taking place?

One Children's Services Department in my area (a labour heartland) has been ordered to make savings of 15% year on year for the next two years.

Bramshott Tue 27-Apr-10 13:33:24

Blimey they are back-to-backing them in MNHQ on Thursday aren't they grin!

Bramshott Tue 27-Apr-10 13:34:35

Doh! Sorry, I'm being stupid - this one is today.

<<<As you were>> <<Bramshott shuffles off>>

I'd like to know why after training to be a midwife for 3 years, becoming qualified but was unable to find a job as a m/w as there was a huge recruitment freeze in most NHS trusts, was I unable to claim Job Seeker's Allowance?

I was told as I hadn't paid NI for the last 2 years I wasn't eligible. Hardly fair when I'd been working 37 hours a week, unpaid for the NHS for the last 3 years.

PeppaPigHere Tue 27-Apr-10 13:42:02

Hi Yvette,
Sorry I couldn't make your launch today - hoped I'd be able to come along but the Beeb put their foot down. RoaryTheRacingCar was keen to step in, but they went and locked the doors of his garage and gave him a stern lecture about BBC bias.

I'm doubly sorry because I know how tough it's been for you to get the big slebs like me to turn out during the campaign. Maybe if I dressed up as Elvis I could sneak past the security camera... I'm working on sourcing the white suit as we speak.

Best of luck with the rest of the campaign. Rest assured we're all on your side in the Pig household (although MummyPig is quite taken with Cleggy and even I have to admit he's quite dishy don't you think?)

Oink, Oink.

gingercat12 Tue 27-Apr-10 13:45:21

Hello Yvette,

Hope Labour will do better than the polls suggest.

I am a part-time working mother-of-one. Retirement is not an option for our generation, I realise that, so I am more interested in childcare at the minute.
I know everybody always complains about this, but it is a big hindrance to equal opportunities at the workplace and in life. Nursery places are so expensive that we can only afford to have one child, otherwise I would have to give up work, go on benefits, etc - which I would never willingly do.
We live in the North, so job opportunities are few and far between. As a result, my husband cannot really reduce his hours, and I am quite grateful to have found any part-time job requiring a degree at all.

Anyway, good luck for you and your husband on the 6th May grin

onadietcokebreak Tue 27-Apr-10 13:48:37

What improvements will Labour make to Social services and how does this compare to the other parties?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Apr-10 13:53:59

So Yvette is in the building and we'll be getting going very shortly.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 13:59:44

Hello, thankyou very much for the invitation today -- and to mumsnet for tea, biscuits and very calm lovely offices in between hectic campaign visits.
I will try to answer as many questions as my typing will let me.

Hello ilovemydogandmrobama. Yes you are right that Ed is Secretary of state for schools and families -- but I've always thought every department and every spokesperson should talk about families. Certainly work and pensions should. (and ed unsurprisingly is used to me talking about families for so many reasons)

Ewe Tue 27-Apr-10 14:00:44

Another quick question from me, hope that is ok?

I am studying for a degree in politics and sociology and I am really keen to do some internships. Why is it so hard for me as a parent to find something? The roles that are part time seem to require evening and weekend work and the more full time roles are impossible for me as it would cost me £250 per week to work as they are usually unsalaried.

Surely MPs of all people could be more flexible and less discriminatory when recruiting unpaid interns? I thought the parties wanted to encourage more young women into politics.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:02:27

Hello AgnesDiPesto, I'm sorry no one has answered your question about autism before. I won't pretned to be an expert on different autism interventions but i do strongly agree with you that early diagnosis and intervention is vital. I think Treehouse are doing some really good work on the ABA programme -- including research and evaluation on how it works in the UK. And i think NICE guidelines are a good opportunity to improve standards -- they are in development at the moment.

lottiejenkins Tue 27-Apr-10 14:03:16

Hi Yvette, im a widow(my husband died nearly nine years ago) and a mother to a thirteen year old son with special needs. I feel like i am being punished for being a widow as my carers allowance stopped when my husband died and i get widowed mothers allowance instead. Im still a carer as well as being a widow.

Runningwithscissors Tue 27-Apr-10 14:12:20

Hi Yvette,

Are the reductions of tax relief on pension contributions for high earners a matter of Labour party principle, and therefore expected to remain permanently, or is this something tht you would hope to reverse when the economy recovers?

Thanks smile

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 14:13:13

Has she gone home?

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:13:59

To herbietea and boffinmum, you're right that we focused particularly today on plans in Labour's manifesto for a toddler tax credit and a Father's month (a month's flexible paid leave for new dads). Tyhat's partly because before 1997 there was pretty much no support for the under 5s at all -- and given that it's such an important time in families' lives, I think Sure Start and child care help have been vital and shouldn't be cut back.
But as the mother of a preteen I am predicatably increasingly keen on helping families with teenagers too. We've substantially increased support for youth centres and youth activities in the last couple of years - including £11m more in Youth Community Action, and £270m for new state of the art youth centres which are under way. Parents of teenagers also get child tax credits too.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:16:22

Thanks for your support Peppapighere> I appreciate you are an international superstar with more fans than madonna, so i guess the minders can get a bit heavy.

LadyBlaBlah Tue 27-Apr-10 14:16:43

I think the questions about the obscene amounts of money given to private companies as part of the (Flexible) New Deal deserves an answer. Emma Harrison being the case in point as a person who is worth £40m because she has provided a particularly flaky 'back to work' scheme to the DWP. Am I wrong in thinking this is scandalous?

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:17:07

Hello HousewifeofOrangeCounty. We have increased support for children - spending, I think, over £25bn in early years and childcare since 1997. But you are right, there isn't anything specific to the self employed. You can still get free child care for 3 and 4 year olds and depending on your income the child care tax credit too. We're keen to increase the amount of free child care for 3 and 4 year olds and make it more flexible, as well as to steadily increase free child care for 2 year olds as well.

PinkoLiberal Tue 27-Apr-10 14:18:45

Carers often want to work but can't, clearly if you earn more your chances are higher as youi could hire a nanny / cleaner etc. And working parents = lower outgoings for the Government. So how come, when someone tries to retrain to a carrer where they can combine work /caring their carer's allowance is stopped? Yet when other students are working through the hols, carer parents are unabvle to yet not allowed to even claim CA in the gap?

Seems a ridiculous policy that effectively knoicks people off the ladder! When I was a student I couldn't get CA as my course was officially FT yet I was there to drop the boys off and collect then, and all holidays etc, as I would have been if not studying. I don't understand the no CA in the long summer break rule at all.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:18:50

To Ottavia and Ewe, there is a lot of Ashcroft and other money helping Conservative candidates in lots of constituencies. There's also a lot of spin coming from the Conservatives about which constituencies they are targeting. Ed's been running a strong local campaign for a long time - the Conservative candidate hasn't. I don't think you can just flush a constituency with cash at the last minute and expect to be taken seriously.

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 14:19:22

You've not just focused on toddlers today, Yvette, you've done it for the last 13 years and it is getting quite boring now.

There are no plans for 'state of the art youth centres' in my area.

IMVHO keeping teenagers on the straight and narrow is far harder than looking after a toddler. After all, there are drug dealers amongst the children in your average preschool is there?

onebatmother Tue 27-Apr-10 14:20:06

Yvette - sorry to be brief, but it feels as though Labour's female hard-hitters have been virtually invisible in the core campaign - why is that? It's all so relentlessly male.

I think it's an error - in an election where many seem to be finding it difficult to distinguish between the parties as they cling to the centre, this could have been a way for Labour to set themselves apart - most female MPs etc.

And apart from that, it's blimmin annoying from a feminist perspective. This day and age, and all that.

PinkoLiberal Tue 27-Apr-10 14:20:18

Agnes I have met a lady on the NICE asd committe and Am Optimistic.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:20:27

On pensions tax relief, runningwithscissors, the Chancellor hasn't set out any plans to reverse the change. Given that those on the very highest income and with the highest pension contributions also get far, far more in tax relief on their pension contributions than everyone else, i think this is a sensible and fair long term change -- which also helps us raise revenue when its needed for the public finances

mog76 Tue 27-Apr-10 14:22:28

Hi Yvette, as part of a working couple I had to return to work when my little boy was 12 weeks old as we could not afford not to work to pay the mortgage. As we jointly earn too much to claim tax credits (despite living in a 2 bed terrace and struggling), one of the few "perks" was the tax relief on childcare vouchers. This is now being withdrawn (and I realise this is being withdrawn slowly so will not effect us - we can't afford to have another child). Why are labour withdrawing this ONE benefit working parents received to give free childcare to 2 year olds from "poorer" families who already receive more than enough handouts. The tax relief on these vouchers is one of the few things that makes work affordable - are labour trying to encourage working people to give up work and claim benefits?

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 14:23:48

Meant to read 'there aren't drug dealers amongst your average preschool children.blush

LadyBlaBlah Tue 27-Apr-10 14:25:06

Would be more of an argument for 'broken britain' if there were drug dealers in pre school

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:26:35

Quite a few questions on Job Centres and private providers. To mumscentrepuls, onadietcokebreak and NinthWave - thanks for the work that you are doing. Job Centre Plus has done an amazing job during the recession - coping with more people coming through the door and getting people back to work much faster than in the 80s and 90s. It's a significant part of the reason why unemployment is around half a million lower than everyone expected this time last year and around half the level of previous recessions.

It's true that we use private providers for different contracts to help people get back to work. The Flexible New Deal does pay contractors by results - they actually get most of the money once people are in jobs. That's new. I don't think Job Centre Plus should try to do everything when there are private providers or voluntary sector providers who can also make a real difference getting people into jobs. But I think the Conservatives are wrong to think that Job Centres should cut back and pass almost everything to private providers. Job Centres have been doing a great job. But I think we should give advisers much more discretion and flexibility to do what they think will make most difference to get people jobs.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:27:46

Hello onebatmother -- i always think its good to have more women campaigning and talkihng about politics. Over half Labour's candidates in seats where MPs are retiring are women so we've been keen to get far more women involved. I think this campaign has been unusual in the much greater focus on the leaders as a result of the leaders debates, which does also mean the cameras have heavily followed them. But Harriet, Tessa and I and many other Labour women are campaigning as hard as we can right across the country. And today lots of Labour candidates are campaigning at school gates on our plans to increase toddler tax credits and against the Conservative and Lib Dem plans to cut them back

funkybuddhia Tue 27-Apr-10 14:28:36

Hello there. I'm one of the dreaded breed of mother. The single mother. Currently on benifits,(don't want to be) and pregnant again( my fault, I know!).
My eldest is 13and until 10 months ago, I worked both full and part time as well as gaining a degree. Just found out I'm pregnant again but I'd really like to start a business I can manage from home.
Currently getting good advice and practical help via businesslink. However, financial start-up help isn't there( I've looked myself and been told by business advisors). Could you tell me why this is the case and if this is set to continue after the election? I've had enough of handouts and would appreciate a leg up.

ninebellies Tue 27-Apr-10 14:28:58

Hi Yvette. I'm really hoping you won't dodge this question like every other politician seems to be doing their best to: if there were to be a hung parliament, would you serve in a government with Nick Clegg?

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 14:30:38

Why do you persist with the pledge of 'increasing toddler tax credits' when the country is nearly bankrupt?

This is a luxury and when you are skint you can't afford luxuries. It makes no sense to me, and perhaps it might go some way as to explain why the Conservatives and Lib Dems are ahead of you in the polls.

SethStarkaddersMum Tue 27-Apr-10 14:30:58

Hello Yvette.
When are you going to end the advertising of sex industry jobs in Job Centres Plus? (And while we're at it, what about signing up to the OBJECT charter on women and the media here?

onadietcokebreak Tue 27-Apr-10 14:31:51

Yvette....thats lovely about Jobcentre staff but there are two sides to JC+. Processing is vital and more support is needed. People wont return to work if they know that if they have to sign back on it will take weeks (at best) to get there benefits sorted.

BTW- Im sure you have seen my post re family friendly policies being eroded but another factor you need to address is the bullying culture amongst management that has been allowed to grow over the last 5 years.

LadyBlaBlah Tue 27-Apr-10 14:32:41

Thanks for kind of addressing the question. Under the New Deal, A4e and other providers have provided no discernible results for many years and have milked the system - hence the £40m personal worth of Emma Harrison.

That £40m is tax payers money, and the company has done little to show for it in terms of delivered long term employment for young people. Do you agree this is scandalous?

I appreciate the New Deal goes some way in addressing this - but I would disagree that you now pay on results. Getting a job and staying in a job are 2 very different matters.

AuraofDora Tue 27-Apr-10 14:32:52

Yvette i feel compelled to tell you that your statement just there on Job Centre Plus is just not most people experience, they are quite inept often with severe lack of knowledge of particular job markets and cannot give practical help to skilled professional workers..if you are not a hairdresser, machine worker or in construction you really are wasting your time...

gingercat12 Tue 27-Apr-10 14:33:31

Herbietea I do not think anybody persists with a pladge of "increasing toddler tax credits". It is just that it is probably easier and cheaper to help new mothers stay in their existing jobs and work, than forcing them to join the long-term unemployed.
That is my view anyway.

herbietea Tue 27-Apr-10 14:36:11

gingercat the Labour Party are persisting with the pledge of increasing toddler tax credits.

Yvette said a little earlier that they were campigning at school gates with this very idea today.hmm

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:37:20

To BongoBaby: Single parents get help because it can be tough bringing up kids on your own and we shouldn't leave children in poverty. But we have changed the rules so that single parents with children over 7 are expected to look for work in school hours and are expected to prepare for work during nursery and school hours once the kids are 3. But I agree with you that absent fathers should pay their way and latest figures from CMEC show that almost 75% of non residential parents are doing just that. I think the important thing is to support all families and all children -- which is why i strongly disagree with the Tories married couples plans, which bizarrely rewards fathers who leave their children and remarry

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:37:28

mmrsceptic and leningrad asked about the pension changes. We have changed the rules from this April so that people only need 30 years contributions to get a full state pension. For a hundred years there has been a deep rooted inequality in the state pension between men and women, because too many women were penalised for time spent looking after kids or elderly relatives. These changes help turn that round. But we're also reforming the Home Responsibilities Protection to make it more generous for mums staying at home. More info available on directgov.

LeninGrad Tue 27-Apr-10 14:47:01

Thanks, it is a good move.

duffy Tue 27-Apr-10 14:47:04

What's Ed's worst habit (not including talking on his mobile while driving)?

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:47:22

Hello ninebellies. you are right journalists are asking this question a lot, and most politicians are not speculating about hung parliaments and who will work with who. But there is a reason for that. The votes have not yet been cast. And its a decision for the public not for politicians what kind of parliament we get. I think there is something presumptious about politicians speculating and planning before the election has even taken place. In the end all the parties will have to abide by voters decisions and make it work. There are things i agree with the Liberal Democrats on -- like keeping up support for the economy and not cutting it back this year. But there are things i disagree with them on -- not least their plans to cut tax credits. That's why I'm campaigning for a majority Labour government.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:50:51

Hogging the telly all Saturday afternoon and walking very fast through stations and crowded places so neither i nor the kids can keep up, and i'm always afraid one of them will get lost, but he does do all the cooking.... (Justine says i should answer another question and not get distracted by too long a list)

CaptainNancy Tue 27-Apr-10 14:52:06

<<coughs>> if you've time to talk about women entering politics please?

Also, what was your favourite book when you were a child?

That is all.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 14:52:07

sorry, last answer was to Ottavia on Ed's worst habit.

gingercat12 Tue 27-Apr-10 14:53:30

herbietea Sorry, I thought you said MNers were persisting.
Well, there is no money, but I still think it is sensible and probably cheaper not to keep women in work, rather than trying to retrain and then re-employ them in 10 years' time.

LeninGrad Tue 27-Apr-10 14:54:25

What single measure are you most proud of professionally?

mmrsceptic Tue 27-Apr-10 14:54:45

thank you and thanks again Lenin

gingercat12 Tue 27-Apr-10 14:55:47

I mean to keep them in work.

ahundredtimes Tue 27-Apr-10 14:59:09

LG - was your question to do with what GB said in the debates re women's pensions, the 'you are a woman' bit? I didn't understand that at the time blush

What a good idea though!

longbay Tue 27-Apr-10 14:59:16

Hi Yvette
I'm not sure if this is your area but is it so impossible for GP surgeries not to be open on a weekend?
Even if a practice of 4 GP's took it in turns to do one weekend a month. It would make a huge difference to Mum's like me who have to go to their local hospital if our child gets ill on a weekend!!
Last Saturday I waited 4hrs in hospital with my 10mths old baby to get a prescription for conjunctivitis!!

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 15:07:21

Captain Nancy asked about women, politics and caring for children. I think it can be hard to balance any job with looking after children -- and I've always thought some of the hardest jobs are actually those which involve shift patterns, like doctors or police, rather than politicians. Westminster isn't a very family friendly place still -- though its a lot better than it was twenty years ago. And it can be harder for women journalists, or staff that work there than for MPs. We do need to go much further with reforms -- including on the hours. Travelling to and fro each week on the train with the whole family can be a challenge too -- especially at the potty training stage!
Ed and I have only been able to manage because of my Mum -- who has been a real lifeline, and is looking after our children again tonight.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 15:09:23

Gindercat and Herbietea we are pledging in our manifesto to increase tax credits for 1 and 2 year olds by £4 a week -- because that's when parents and especially mothers often want to work part time or stay at home with the children and so face extra costs.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 15:11:52

Sorry, meant to add, and we're paying for it by some reforms to the benefit system which we set out in the Budget and will save around £200m a year.

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 15:16:06

Sorry I couldn't get through all the questions.
There were some detailed questions about individual benefits entitlements where more information should be available through the DWP helplines or direct gov>

YvetteCooper Tue 27-Apr-10 15:18:16

Thankyou very much for all the comments and sorry my typing wasn't faster.
Justine is now explaining to me how to come up with my "Tory Candidate's name": Anthony Wigeons-Benham!

ahundredtimes Tue 27-Apr-10 15:26:16

Thank you for coming. I'm reading all your posts with great interest.

Tory MP name excellent - and actually weirdly plausible.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Apr-10 15:32:11

Thanks very much to Yvette for coming on and thanks to everyone who posted questions and took part.

LeninGrad Tue 27-Apr-10 15:32:41


NinthWave Tue 27-Apr-10 17:27:18

Thankyou Yvette

AngryWasp Tue 27-Apr-10 18:17:48

Did she answer my question?

Mumcentreplus Tue 27-Apr-10 20:31:34

Thanks Yvette wink

onadietcokebreak Tue 27-Apr-10 20:46:39

Typical politican...skirted the issues about family policies in her own department.

gingercat12 Tue 27-Apr-10 21:09:16

Thanks Yvette smile

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Apr-10 22:33:22

i don't know why i bother reading these things tbh.

i think the points re dla and ca was that the actual policies were flawed. was kind of hoping for some response towards the flaws.

but thanks for pointing us back towards the policies anyway. i suppose. <sighs heavily>

AgnesDiPesto Wed 28-Apr-10 00:16:54

if Yvette's researcher is reading this afterwards say thank you for at least trying to answer the autism question and saying positive things about ABA but NICE guidelines are only for diagnosis not for intervention as this is education not health, so you have got that wrong - NICE guidelines aren't going to help. I'd just like to see some clear national guidance of one sort or another.

PinkoLiberal Wed 28-Apr-10 09:58:28


We had a talk from the lady from NIOCE at Uni (doing MA in ASD) and they are looking as well at what to do post dx- so what to recommend etc

The lady I know is a very well respected professional (won't say what as unfair to out her iyswim) and I have faith in her, she works on the complex ASD team and that's a choice / intereest thing ehre- no allocated budget

Chances are sod all will happen as ever, you know and I know what it's like (sob) but the more people like her actually get invovled the better imo

BTW are you someone on MN I recognise who has changed name? Seen you about a bit altely and can't work out if I do or not LOL- am Peachy btw. Or clarissimo depending on mood.

Sadly i don't think the sday when we get standard funded ABA (in fact quite a lot of the Uni profs seem quite biased agianst ABA) or DIR, sensory therapies seem more 'in' tbh, and the Uni lot seem to think we're heading more towards an era of breaking down the causes ofn the specific asd presentation and addressing that instead.

PinkoLiberal Wed 28-Apr-10 10:01:22

And ye MAdwoman exactly

I've finsihed Uni, I don't need to know what I can claim thanks, I just would prefer a more sensible situation for anyone following after me.

I know you can't claim CA in the summer hols, that is the problem frankly. Student with no money = get a job; student carer with no money = fucked

But of course why would we help anyone lift themselves out anyway eh?
When a report I used in my last essay using stats from about 6 yeras ago showed a carer easily saves the government around £1k a week vby being stuck at home

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