Joint webchat with Conservative and Labour housing minister and shadow housing minister, MONDAY 2 MARCH 1pm x

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

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).


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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now