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Live webchat about women and work with Maria Miller, Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, TODAY, Thursday 22 November, 1pm to 2pm

(335 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-Nov-12 16:28:42

Hello, we're very pleased to announce that Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities will be joining us for a live webchat on Thursday 22 Nov between 1pm and 2pm.

Maria has been the MP for Basingstoke since 2005 and has previously held shadow education and family briefs. Before entering Parliament, Maria worked in advertising. She is married with three children.

This is Maria's second Mumsnet webchat.

Maria is keen to hear your thoughts on how to get more women into work, with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women. She also wants to hear your thoughts on how the government can make workplaces more equal environments, where women can better realise their potential.

Do join us for the webchat. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.

Thanks,

MNHQ

Ooh sounds interesting.

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 18:32:54

Oh bugger. I am working sad

But my question is something I feel very strongly about. I believe fervently that women should be encouraged back into the workplace (assuming that they want to, of course grin) but why is childcare always assumed to be a woman's issue?

It's even in your OP - with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women.

This makes me really angry. Why is it always the responsibility for women? Until men start taking children and families seriously, and sharing the responsibility for organising childcare, we will never achieve equality for women in the workplace.

Children are produced by parents, not just by women.

strandednomore Tue 20-Nov-12 18:39:45

I seriously don't think there is an easy answer to this. If there was, we'd all be doing it. But for me the answer is more about more decent (and decently paid) fleixble and part-time jobs rather than more and more childcare. Two of us earning (eg) £25k per year each and sharing childcare rather than him earning eg £50k and me doing all the childcare.

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 19:02:14

What would have helped us enormously would have been the ability to pay our nanny without having to pay her income tax. Paying her tax out of our already taxed income added a significant extra financial burden and we struggled massively with that in the early years.

LadyStark Tue 20-Nov-12 19:21:52

Hi Maria,

You commented today that you though the time limit for abortion should be reduced to be more in line with '"people's views" - which people specifically do you mean? Yours?

There certainly doesn't seem to be any scientific basis to this and whilst I support your right to a personal view on this type of issue I really worry about the message it sends when the women's minister is saying things like this.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 20-Nov-12 19:39:21

What LadyStark said! Surely health policies should be based on scientific and medical fact, not on public opinion?

(Was going to ask that earlier but wasn't sure if I had to stick to the topic.)

sabusz Tue 20-Nov-12 19:49:21

My 3 year old daughter is sick for most of the winter season, chest infections, wheezing and all that. Why there's no paid time off to care for your child and you have to take it out of your holiday entitlement or as unpaid leave??So unfair, there should be at least let's say 5 days a year of paid leave like most European countries have. I'm just dreading coming months...

Meglet Tue 20-Nov-12 20:29:56

Why does childcare have to be in place for women. The last time I checked men were parents too.

<<slighty narky but valid point I think>>

BIWI, I was going to ask the same but trying to work out how to phrase it. There's no doubting that childcare is on the whole an issue that affects women a lot more than men so I suppose the question is how do we change that? I suppose the split maternity leave goes some way to helping, however I think it will require an overall culture change.
In my little team at work, there are just two men, two women. We are all parents to small children, and we all do the juggling. The men are equally likely to be off when their DC are ill, or rearrange their working pattern to handle childcare. I love it grin

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 20:51:59

How refreshing! It's definitely a workplace culture thing. Create the right culture for men to feel it's acceptable, and I think most of them are happy to 'get stuck in'.

TheMysteryCat Tue 20-Nov-12 21:11:42

Why have you refused to meet with the heads of any of the UK's regional theatres? I'm not sure if you're aware, but the arts is one sector where women have much more equality at middle management level, although the senior level is still unequal. I'm surprised that given this covers two areas of your professional responsibility, it has not received any consideration.

I'd also like to know what you are going to do in a positive way for women in the arts, many of whom have lost their jobs due to government cuts.

maxpower Tue 20-Nov-12 22:33:09

I think the reason that there is a general perception that childcare is an issue for women (rather than men) is because in most cases, if the parental unit breaks down, it is the father who leaves, rather than the mother. The mother therefore has to assume all the responsibilities. How do you plan to tackle this and hold fathers to account?

WansteadG Tue 20-Nov-12 23:37:44

one of my children is disabled - I returned to work when DD started school part time for a local school soon discovered that her doctor/hospital appointments were a problem (I have no influence over these). Decided in the end not worth it.

princessnumber2 Tue 20-Nov-12 23:53:03

Why doesn't the government increase the amount of childcare vouchers available to meet an individual's (or couple's) actual childcare costs?

Or alternatively perhaps tell me where I could find full time childcare for £243 a month? I live in London and am currently on multiple nursery waiting lists. I'm told I might wait a year or more for a nursery place and that it won't cover my working hours and commute anyway. A nanny would cost way more than my salary.

Before having children I had a good job and good career prospects. Not anymore it seems.

MayaAngelCool Wed 21-Nov-12 00:28:31

Hi and welcome, Maria!

I am currently creating a short-term project that will enable a small group of unemployed/ underemployed women to develop and use their work skills, and it's really important to me that I pay them for this work. Do you know of any sources of funding for projects like this?

Thanks in advance. smile

BIWI Wed 21-Nov-12 08:14:59

princessnumber2 - do you have a DH/DP? Are you taking his salary into account?

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 21-Nov-12 09:51:53

I agree with the lovely BIWI.

As long as the view that childcare is the responsibility of women stays, and clearly that is very much your current view, we cannot move forward.

Your thoughts on this will be very interesting.

Porpoise Wed 21-Nov-12 09:58:33

Hello, Maria.

What's your reaction to the Church of England Synod's decision not to allow women bishops? How do you think it will affect most people's view of the Church of England and its relevance to society today?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:12:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:12:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:14:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kathylilly23 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:00:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

mamamiaow Wed 21-Nov-12 11:19:21

Hi Maria

I think the only way to get mothers/fathers back to work is to offer means tested, subsidised child care from a very young age (eg. at end of SMP, not from age 3). Our nursery fee is £50 a day. I am luckily not on the min wage, but I can see how anyone who is on a low income would struggle to pay these kinds of fees. Do you think issues like this for age 1-3 need to be addressed?

And on the subject of equality in the workplace - from going 'part time' 30 hours a week I can honestly say there is a stigma attached - even though I think PT workers are more productive than their FT equivalents. Sadly, the hostility I have experienced is actually from other women (FT, with no children {yet}, who should be ashamed of themselves). I only hope I see the day when these women have children...

LineRunner Wed 21-Nov-12 16:02:18

Dear Maria

I am 50. I feel exhausted every day, having brought up my two children on my own because their father walked out when they were very young. My career prospects are now dismal. I have health problems. I have a low income. My house is falling apart. In the next few years even the minimal child support will stop, child tax credits and child benefit will stop, and I will be expected to help support my children through university.

I have to work till I am 66.

Some days I just want to chuck myself under a bus. I got a PhD for this?

ATourchOfInsanity Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:48

Lady Stark has pointed out the topic in the news this week - your apparent belief that 'people' would rather a drop in the abortion limit to 20 weeks.

I would urge you to read the many threads on the topic on here, a predominately female led website. When your colleague suggested he thought 12 weeks was his idea of appropriate there were some very sad stories voiced on here with very real situations. As I am sure you are aware, most abortions take place even before 12 weeks. Therefore you are attacking the minority who have no other choice and are usually advised a termination for medical reasons. I urge you to look at the science and figures for WHY women wait to, and past 20 weeks for an abortion. You would only serve to cut off the most needy women in society by restricting this freedom of choice.

To me it is an advantage to be living in a country where people from other countries can still find refuge to have an abortion that may save their lives. The recent case in Ireland proves that point. This also affects husbands. Husbands who may be left without a wife for children they already have, if they die due to lack of choice. Financially many families can fall below the breadline in these dire economic times and perhaps it is not your choice to force them further into debt?

My question to you would be, have you actually met, and talked frankly with any women who have had to make the terrible decision to terminate past 20 weeks? If not, do you intend to, to make your opinions more rounded?

LineRunner Wed 21-Nov-12 16:32:41

And what ATouchOfInsanity just said and asked. Thank you.

Solopower1 Wed 21-Nov-12 17:12:11

Maria, a lot of grandparents are willing to help look after our children's children, but when we are working full time ourselves, this is impossible.

How will your government make it easier for us to go part-time or work flexitime in order for us to help the next generation?

Also, with people being forced to retire later, how will you stop older people like me clogging up the system and sitting in jobs that younger people need more and would do better for less?

I would like to remain economically active for as long as possible, but as I get older, I would like to see my role more as a support for my adult children, so that they can get on the employment ladder and establish their careers. At present, I can't do this.

Ahardyfool Wed 21-Nov-12 17:13:26

I am a mother of 4 children. I worked full time until a couple of weeks ago when I threw in the towel because I could not afford to work the hours required and pay for adequate childcare and transport for my children. The tax credit subsidy for more than one child only covers care for my 3 year old - the rest (childminder for after school for my 9 year old) comes from my wage. My eldest two children have to fend for themselves between 4pm and 5pm as I would be into minus income if I paid for them to be supervised too. As a result, my son was excluded from school 2 weeks ago (just for a day) for behaviour after homework club ended. This is the point at which I said enough is enough, I cannot do both. I now cannot pay my rent.

Inidentally, my middle son is not paid for in any way whatsoever by his father. The CSA have been unable to help there. My other childrens' fathers pay the very minimum and the systems in place ALLOW THEM TO GET AWAY WITH THIS. I, on the other hand, work day in day out, let down my colleagues and children on a daily basis by trying to be all things to all people.

I had to leave my children alone during the holidays some of the time because I couldn't afford to pay for care at approx. 4x£40 per day minimum.

I have a partner and we would love to marry and live together but we cannot afford to. How is that? It is marginally better for us financially to survive as two lone parents than as a family unit, and yet the family unit would undoubtedly be better for my children - two of whom have behavioural issues due to poor/non existent relationships with their fathers. Your policies ensure we are caught in this trap.

I privately rent by the way, because apparently to wait for a council house means we could be housed literally anywhere and one of the things that I think will help prevent my children becoming products of their rather dismal upbringing and keep them within the law, etc. etc. is stability and consistency. So, we screw ourselves financially by paying extortionate rental every month so the children can remain stable and in school and near family.

As far as I can see, it is lose lose for families like me despite a strong work ethic and a deep regard for bringing up decent citizens in my children.

I'm at home at the moment, doing the school run and working on my CV. If I get a job, then I'll be back into the fire from the frying pan, or vice versa. However, my question is; do you have any useful solutions for a mother like me?

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 17:25:35

I agree with the early question on the thread - why is this assumed to be a women's issue. I earned 10x my children's father and even back 20 years ago childcare was something both of us sorted out and there was no assumption I would do it or fix it up and he did not "help" me but was a true 50./50 partner. Surely by 2012 the same kind of fairness in relationships can be achieved.

The Tories are doing quite well in giving father's a right although many of us would have preferred a right for men which you "use it or lose it" principle to force men into it and help eradicate sexism.

As a free market libertarian what I regard as most helpful would be very low flat taxes and no market distortions of very long paid maternity leaves which ghetto-ise women into having sexist roles at home - the 6 weeks at 90% pay and after that it falls off a cliff below subsistence level is fine. Abolish all child b benefit and child tax credits, limit much much more than the £500 a week new benefits cap particularly housing benefit so the market can decide wages not the state subsidise low wages. These are the ways to help the country and working parents.

Obviously we want to ensure the cabinet is at least 50% female in leading roles if not 80% if the best people are female. The numbers of women in leading positions are absolutely appalling for Thatcher's children, putting so many women off by such a poor example.

Many many more women on all financial committees, Bank of England and the like . The country has loads of great female economists.

Bonsoir Wed 21-Nov-12 17:51:03

If governments want to get more women and in particular more mothers into paid work outside the home, they need to ensure that women make a profit from working once they have paid for the proper outsourcing (ie reasonable quality) of the unpaid work that they were doing previously at home, principally housekeeping and childcare (but perhaps also care for extended family) and for the extra costs that arise from working, principally transport and clothing.

This will require tax breaks and/or state subsidies.

TheCrackFox Wed 21-Nov-12 18:00:38

Why aren't local authorities legally compelled to offer before and after school provision?

There is no breakfast club where I live.

The after school club has a waiting list of over a year.

Childminders cost £6.50 per hour, per child.

I live in a major city and it is a joke.

LineRunner Wed 21-Nov-12 18:08:53

And can we assume that as more schools 'opt out' of Local Authority control they will be able legally to un-Extend what were our Extended Schools?

Meglet Wed 21-Nov-12 19:36:38

My question;

As the government seem to be determined to force single parents back to work regardless of the toll it will take on their family or health what are you planning to do to ensure employers offer flexi-time / working from home / double annual leave quota (if the father is not around) / unpaid emergency leave for these single parents when their children are sick or have problems as teenagers? At the moment it seems that employees rights are being taken away, not improved.

I have worked part time since my DC's (now 6 & 4) were small and like linerunner I have health problems because of it and we only have my mother for back up, she is 66 and will probably not be able to help much when they are teenagers.

This government is making life harder for women, the removal of child benefit and charging domestic violence victims to use the CSA are not actions of a government that is interested in equality.

Solopower1 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:52:51

Maria, how would you make sure every child had access to affordable before and after school care?

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:07:48

maria i want govt to support working parents and compel schools to have after school, and holiday provision to help working parents.would you consider semesterisation to space out the school terms to reduce long summers?

cant participate as i am at work but will catch up later

AgnesDiPesto Wed 21-Nov-12 23:15:49

I had to give up a legal career because the government will not invest in good quality early autism intervention which is commonplace in other countries like USA - the UK insist on using cheap eclectic approaches in mainstream settings which have no evidence base whatsoever and in my son's case delivered not one single positive outcome in 2 years despite full-time 1:1 and a statement of SEN.

The only choice I had was to either let my son with autism be consigned to the gutter or give up my career, pay privately for training (in applied behaviour analysis, the proven most effective autism intervention for very young children with autism), and home educate him. Obviously I chose the latter - the good news is my son now speaks, is making good progress and is thriving on an ABA programme won (after a 2 year fight) at tribunal and is able at 6 to attend mainstream school part-time with his ABA staff.

The bad news is my husband and I cannot revive our careers as we still need to drive him 40 miles to therapy daily, there is no legal aid left anyway so little use for ex legal aid lawyers, my husband's business was in tatters after a year of home educating and he can't easily revive it in a recession. I managed to get a job in the public sector for alot less money and 0.5 of week, and I intended to increase my hours when my son's tribunal was over but am now stuck on 0.5 due to the government's public sector job & pay freeze (despite being one of the most productive members of staff). I cannot get another better paid job which is suitably flexible (I had to turn down 2 other jobs and battle this employer to be able to make it fit with my caring responsibilities).

My husband and I earn 1/3 of what we did before we had to take on a carer role as we both had to cut our hours and change jobs. I used to pay lots of taxes but I now take more out of the system through carers allowance and tax credits than I put in. We cannot afford to pay into pensions so in old age we will be on the breadline because despite working over 100 hours a week at times as a carer, this does not entitle us to anymore than the basic state pension. We will probably still be caring for our son in our 80's. Our other two sons will have to fend for themselves without any parental financial support or time.

How can two graduates in good professional jobs have to give up so much just because like 1 in 100 other families out there we happened to have a child with autism? He is not even at the severest end of the spectrum. Why should this be so catastrophic to our work lives and finances when there are well proven interventions out there which should have been available in a specialist setting with appropriately trained staff and put into place immediately the need arose to allow me to keep my job?

And please don't tell me about how you are expanding mainstream nursery places for disabled 2 year olds because there is no evidence for this model for autism. The evidence is for intensive specialist therapy of 30-40 hours a week.

And you should also make sure self employed people can deduct childcare fees from their gross profits

bzzbee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:46:01

I wholeheartedly agree with the comments that the constant assertion of childcare as a "woman's issue" is backward.
Has Maria any ideas on how to address this, as it seems to be the bigger problem. I work in the City, have done for 20 years, so am fairly, ahem, mature, and all my male peers have stay at home wives "supporting" their careers. It's a vicious circle as the men in this set-up are better positioned to advance career-wise because they never have to take time off (or shift focus) for domestic or childcare issues.
I am a huge advocate of the new paternity laws, but children are dependent for 16 years and this legislation only covers the first year. We need to make men more like women and focus on this instead of the same old lines about women/workforce/childcare.
To make two things equal, it is often more expedient to tweak both rather than only one, and it seems to me there has been far too much focus on family issues being the domain of the woman, instead of equally shared.

princessnumber2 Thu 22-Nov-12 07:58:16

Sorry BIWI. Might not have DH for long sad

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 08:17:37

Ah. Sorry to hear that, princessnumber2 sad

Bonsoir Thu 22-Nov-12 09:31:26

bzzbee - do you think that the argument that it is "unfair" to City workers who do not have a FT SAHP to support them and allow them to work all the hours that be is one that the Government ought to be addressing?

Personally, I think that if you want that kind of career it is up to you to sort out your domestic arrangements (two nannies and a housekeeper, if need be, to replace a SAHP). I think the Government needs to focus on lower earners.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 09:47:46

Women also need to ensure they do not accept sexism at home. I certainly even 20 years ago would not have done for one single day. As I earned 10x what he did of course that is easier but we both worked full time with 5 children. I do know many men in the City whose wives work. It is very common.

I presume Nick Clegg's lawyer wife earns more than he does. Cherie Blair was a great example too although of course I would prefer the cabinet were packed with women.

Then new paternity laws will be good.

What I would liek the Government to do is real cuts, not tiny messing around playing cuts; much much smaller state, much lower flat tax and abolish CGT, IHT and stamp duty, VAT on everything and merge tax and NI and abolish all tax reliefs for everything, childbenefit and tax credits to go too so the free market can really start to operate rather than have the low paid propped up by the state through credits and housing benefit. The new cap at the amazingly high rate of £500 a week is just a joke. Far far too high.

I am repeating the same piont as a lot of others, particularly those of us who are high earning successful women or those who out earn men... child care is not and never has been a woman's issue. Nick Clegg as much as Miriam Gonzalez has to arrange childcare. Women who tolerate sexist men are idiots. let men fix babysitting, nannies and the like. They have arms. They can speak. Stop suggesting women fix childcare. Children have two parents.

thereonthestair Thu 22-Nov-12 09:59:38

Hi. As a mother of a disabled child I have managed to carry on working in a professional field but only because I am self employed, although legally I am also a "worker". In respect of the childcare I would love to get more support, but like Agnes I can't because the NHS cannot provide the therapy and appointments on the same days of the week. As such even if I wanted to I cannot work in a conventional part time job, because I need to be able to drop everything on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (variously depending on the appointments). As such I couldn't do a conventional part time job. But as I am self employed I get no tax relief on the childcare I do use. My DH does but as I understand it if we had another child we wouldn't be able to share the benefits of the new flexible maternity/parental leave as these are employment rights not workers rights.

I pay a lot of tax, and am very lucky I have the financial choice to do this. I know so many people who don't because of difficulties with caring for disabled children. I contribute more than I would receive if I gave it all up and went onto benefits/carers allowance etc. But I believe i am penalised for having a disabled child as there is no childcare who can cover the medical needs effectively, I get no tax relief on the amounts I pay for therapists to cover the treatments the NHS can't provide when i have to pay for them so as to avoid giving up work, as I just can't take the NHS appointments all the time and I get no parental leave as i am a worker not an employee. If you want to keep people like me in work and contributing to society have you got any plans to extend family rights to workers, parental leave rights to allow my husband who is an employee to take bits of time off to allow him to liase with the NHS when they cannot seem to make the appointments on a consistent day of the week, or tax relief when we have to in effect employ someone else to provide therapy/childcare/support so the wheels don't come off. If you don't have these plans do you accept that it may in efefct make many more people like me (and Agnes) give up work when we have much to contribute to society?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 10:06:01

Xenia - do you think that abolishment of Housing Benefit will, in reality force rental fees down? Or, in fact, do you think that Utopian thinking in the face of inherent human greed will fail to deliver? I imagine that many landlords simply cannot face the thought of a reduction in their income by slashing the amount they charge in property rental to their tenants, in much the same way high earners resent high taxation. And if not present and current greed, then historic greed which has seen over speculation to accumulate and 2nd, 3rd...property owners finding they cannot cover their loans and mortgages without charging high rentals.

Even if things did change over time, for a period you would see families suddenly homeless I'm sure.

Bonsoir Thu 22-Nov-12 10:23:50

The cost of housing in (parts of) the UK is out of control. Housing benefit is just one tiny part of the equation.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 10:28:09

Hi Maria

Are you aware of the Turnaway project? It is a longtitudinal study looking at the outcomes for women who both have abortions and those who are turned away and forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. The initial findings have shown that women who get the abortion they want have far better outcomes both financially and emotionally as opposed to those who are denied and, statistically, are more likely to suffer mental and physical health problems, are more likely to live in poverty and on state assistance. In the light of actual research (as opposed to woolly minded wishful thinking) are you going to reassess your position on the 12 week abortion limit you appear to be wedded to?

In connection to this, the 12 week limit is one that seems to stem from religious doctrine. Given that the Church of England have refused to ordain women bishops, do you think trying to appeal to the Religious vote is a poor way to develop policy, especially given the drift away from the church and the example of the recent American elections.

Now that we know that a block of seats in the upper house of our parliament is explicitly denied to women, what are you, as the minister for women going to do to address this blatant discrimination at the highest levels of government?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 10:37:32

I have a question from DP too:

Isn't it time that religion is separated from law and Government in this country - particularly since the position of the Church of England is largely discriminatory and massively unrepresentative?

TessBob Thu 22-Nov-12 11:06:00

My husband temporarily reduced his hours to a four day week with our first child (now three), as I had post-natal depression. Work were supportive. Or so it seemed. He has since been overlooked on two promotions he was ideally positioned for, and he daren't now ask for any support - not even a day working at home if our sons (we know have a baby too) are ill.

How will we make the breakthrough from the theory of more equal parental rights and support for working parents to the reality of it? Does the law need to have more teeth with employers?

(I hasten to add that my career has been blitzed since children - and I was the main breadwinner too. My 'women-friendly' industry is anything but.)

I have extremely talented friends who are even considering leaving the country to find better working conditions for parents. Netherlands and France are on the list. This is brain-drain. On this point I am embarrassed to be British.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 11:10:37

I certainly agree with Ahardy re religion but no Government will do it so it's not likely to be put up as a plan. Too many sharp elbowed too stingy to pay school fee housewives not prepared to lose their church school. Cameron who could afford to relieve the state of the cost of his children's education as many of us do, burdens the state and uses a state school place.

Ahardy, on the question to me on housing benefit. Loads of landlords will have nothing to do with housing benefit tenants. Landlords make about 6% profit on rent on a buy to let and often much less when maintenance is taken into account. My point was one that when the state intervens with a massive subsidy of the low paid then employers keep wage rates down as they know the full timer on £13k a year minimm wage will get al oad of housing benefit up to £20k a year and tax credits.

My calculations the other day of single full time working mother in London living in Watford earning £50k, pays £14k tax, £14k full time nursery place in say Watford, £14k repayment mortgage on £150k flat plus her transport and is in pretty much the same financial position as her benefits claiming twin. The issue of how you ensure the poor are not left in dormitories like the 21 person boarding house my grandfather shared in 1901 with food kitchens to ensure benefits is not cushy whilst saying to the £50k woman work very hard and yet you are no better off than your non working twin is very difficult but must be tackled. If we make work pay that will help. Another idea woudl be a universal payment of £10k perhaps to everyone over 18 in work or not so that you keep that even if you do work and just pay 20% tax and NI flat tax on your earnings so no incentive to skive. Abolish tax credits, all tax reliefs, benefits. If £10k is not enough you move where it is or share with 3 other women.

CaramelisedOnion Thu 22-Nov-12 11:22:46

1. I agree with those who have stated that it would be helpful if there was more subsidised childcare for the under 3s. I'm grateful for working tax credits, don't get me wrong, but if (god forbid) I were to lose my job I only have 1 month to find another one (because I have paid out of my savings so that my nursery fees are always a month ahead) because once you lose your job, you lose your working tax credits. This would mean that my son would likely lose his nursery place. If the 15 free hours a week was available to all parents after SMP is over then this would remove this issue. I'm a single parent who works 30 hours over 4 days. I receive no maintenance as my son's father is absent completely.

2. I agree with the "use it or lose it" approach to parental rights stated byanother poster. If those who are resident parents completely ignored the existence of their child for 6 days, never mind 6 months, 6 years etc then the child concerned would be taken into care. The rights are surely children's rights - the right not to be disrupted, to understand what is going on in their life, to consistency - not the right of a parent who suddenly decides after long periods of total disinterest that they fancy checking in on that kid they had x number of years ago. In my opinion, parents have responsibilites, CHILDREN have rights.

3.The idea of reducing the legal abortion rate to 12 weeks is surely ludicrous - as many have stated it is only at the 20 week scan that certain fetal abnormalities can be detected. I really hope this does not happen as it would (in my opinion) be an enormous step backwards.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 11:36:24

Xenia, totally agree with you regarding the problem of a lone working parent achieving the same financial status as non-working counterpart.

I guess this was me. It isn't even the attitude of 'why work for the same money I can receive on benefits'. For me, it's 'why deny my children so much parental input, so much parental support and time and interest for the same income I could achieve (thereabouts) benefits dependent?' Also, why see my children's education suffer, and pay for them to use inadequate public transport to and from school so I can be in work when instead they could be travelling cheaply and easily, and home in time to do homework, relax, see their friends and enjoy a meal cooked by me, etc. etc. These may be luxuries but what is the incentive to do without them when it is possible living off the state? And what about the glass ceiling of trying to achieve in a career, and be better off monetarialy only to be hampered by childcare and parenting demands that mean one will rarely take great leaps up the career ladder.

And the position of being part salaried, part funded by the state in the form of Tax credits...my calculations tell me that increase my salary by at least another £10 000 annually if I am ever to be truly self succient upon my income (or what was my income!). Until then, I am subsidised and caught between trying to increase my output (thereby upping my childcare costs beyond Tax Credit subsidy levels) and balancing that with the increasing costs associated with doing so. So, if i do achieve, say a £5000 increase in salary, my costs almost immediately negate this achievement.

I think any state supplementation of income needs to be incentive based and this is applicable at many levels - not just the point above joblessness and poverty.

There somehow needs to be a reward for personal and familial sacrifice and hard work, rather than a consequence for doing nothing - particularly when that consequence (low state provided income) seems to have very little impact. And by hard work, I imply any form of hard work whether employee or carer, or person that is ill.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 11:46:52

Ahardy, it is terribly hard. I was amazed at the net figure the single working parent with no other half who pays or is at home, after her full time nursery place, tax and mortgage and she is no £50k. Of course if she goes up to £100k then she loses 42% of that increase to tax and NI (£21k to the state) and loses her tax credits and all her child benefit but she will still be better off.
I am certainly better off as a single mother of five who paid 5 sets of school fees etc as I work 50 weeks a year often 7 days a week and earn quite a lot even if does at times feel like I am working to fund loads of benefit claimants. I also have the choice to move abroad as I would if tax got higher.

So how to make work pay for women and men as both of them are equally responsible for chidlren and childcare? Iain D Smith is working hard at this but even so I think the single mother getting back into work will still lose lots if she works. Also many of the jobs are zero hours contracts and uncertainties. I could offer a benefits mumsnetter occasional work of a few hours but it would absolutely destroy her ability to eat because she'd be on and off benefits. IDS' scheme apparently will mean those in the first year of setting up a business not lose benefits and that might help.

If you pick a good career there are rewards for that sacrifice and hard work. My children have graduated debt free in good careers, I work for myself, I bought an island and I only mention these things as people moan a lot and I think it's really helpful on here for other mothers who think the call centre is their only possibility to know some women earn £1k a day and have great lives and lovely families and good relationships with chidlren. Making sure our teenage daughters pick the well paid careers rather than dabbling in the arts until a feckless man comes along who might support them for a few years is part of the process.

Anyway I am sure they wanted this thread just to be a list of specific questions and I have not achieved that.

One question is : why is it assumed childcare is a woman's issue? That is terribly sexist. Plenty of men find child care and most couples share these things these days and even did 20 years ago when I had my first children.

Bonsoir Thu 22-Nov-12 11:50:07

"it's 'why deny my children so much parental input, so much parental support and time and interest for the same income I could achieve (thereabouts) benefits dependent?'"

The same argument holds for SAHPs. Why deny your children all that parental input and time and stress-free lifestyle for no profit, if your partner earns plenty for the whole family to live on? Work needs to pay signficantly in order to make it worth all the family sacrifices it entails.

MayaAngelCool Thu 22-Nov-12 11:56:08

On the subject of childcare, why is there no financial support for self-employed people? Both my partner and I are self-emp - as are many more people since the start of the recession - and we pay £600 a month for 2.5 days a week of childcare, plus of course all the other rising costs of the basics of life.

This is typical where we live, and we could not do our jobs if we moved to a cheaper part of the country. We live simply, in a house too small for our needs, we work bloody hard, and we earn too much to qualify for tax credits but not enough to not be crippled by the astronomical costs of childcare. Sometimes it feels like this country is trying to break us. And ultimately that's not in the government's interests because you'd end up shelling out more on benefits and NHS costs, wouldn't you? So what are you going to do for people like us?

Bonsoir Thu 22-Nov-12 11:58:32

"So how to make work pay for women and men as both of them are equally responsible for chidlren and childcare?"

This is the fundamental flaw in all the thinking around this subject. Children do not need two parents to take equal responsibility for their upbringing and trying to make both parents equally responsible for earning and for bringing up children is economically nonsensical - it is always more efficient to specialise.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 12:13:46

I disagree. Most couples are much happier when they share chores and share children. Heaps of us work full time - both in the couple. It's perfectly possible. There is also a moral imperative to help women do better in work. If one of the couple must stay home let it be men for the next 5000 years until things are evened up a bit.

On the self employed point good point. I never had maternity rights with any of the 5 children as with the first ones you needed 2 years of service and with the last two (twins) I worked for myself. The self employed small business owners who are the backbone of this country and many are women (more people are employed in companies with under 5 staff than any other size) do not feel very encouraged. We have masses of regulation and yes I accept a few bits may be going but I am not holding my breath... and few benefits.

The bottom line is we are in a very bad recession and need much bigger cut backs than already. So my suggestion of much less state provision, removing benefits and subsidies and letting the poor free market which never gets a look in actually operate for a bit is just about the best and cheapest solution.

MayaAngelCool Thu 22-Nov-12 12:19:16

"If one of the couple must stay home let it be men for the next 5000 years until things are evened up a bit." grin

IMO broadly speaking most couples these days prefer to have both partners working, but a minority are happy with a single income/ dedicated home parent arrangement. People should be able to make the right decision for their whole family without it reducing them to poverty.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 12:25:03

I don't agree with the shoulds however. There is no human right for your lifestyle choices to be funded by the state. I chose to have 4th and 5th babies rather than buy a yacht say (which with private school fees as they are would have been a cheaper choice) and I support them. My choice.

What the Government is about is trying to turn around the female vote. As many women make poor career choices and marry and tolerate sexist men (more fool them) they tend to be pretty impoverished and cuts hit the poor.So not surprisingly Cameron is going to have to turn around the female vote. He is failing. The cabinet is more male than I can ever remember it. Few serious posts have gone to women. Even women like I am who are wanting free market libertarian options are not happy so he needs some ideas quickly which please women but cost nothing.

What about compulsory workfare for all including single mothers of babies (if I can work full time when a baby is 2 weeks so can any mother in the UK) and those benefits scroungers look after babies and toddlers of others who then get totally free childcare? Double win, no cost.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 12:27:19

Maria, why isn't more being done to tackle discrimination against mothers in the workplace, and particularly older mothers who are returning to work after taking time out to care for children? Most of women I know who have gone back to work after time out with children are working way below their skill level - how can this make economic sense?

It's common knowledge that if you want to get a job you should find some way not to mention your time as a SAHM - this screams to me of the fact that there is very widely acknowledged and blatant discrimination going on, and yet this is somehow fine. Why?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 12:33:21

Sorry for getting carried away with this thread but...

To what extent should the state fund individual stupidity and poor judgement?

I have 4 children, and this very fact makes earning decent money rather difficult. I depend on state subsidies for my childcare. However, the fact that I am a lone parent is not only down to the fecklessness of my children's fathers but also my own poor decision making about relationships. Should I be helped by the state?

Incidentally, were counselling/self esteem building therapeutic intervention widely available at an affordable cost then I might have been able to make better life choices age 26. Unfortunately, it has taken 10 years of life experience and soul searching to achieve the same (no cost to the NHS) but I'm now in a woeful financial position. Can you see the chicken and egg scenario here?

MayaAngelCool Thu 22-Nov-12 12:39:08

I do hope your last post was tongue-in-cheek, Xenia, but I'm doubting that it was.

If you chose to work full time when your baby was two weeks old, then, IMO, to use your own words, "more fool you". Everyone makes bad choices, not just women in limiting careers and with bastard partners. It is deeply patronising that you write of some women in this way. We all make bad choices at some point in our lives, but what matters is how we deal with it.

More significantly, we all make choices which have both positive and negative ramifications. Choosing to stay at home with one's children for a long period generally has a negative impact on one's finances and the career aspect of our self-esteem, but it usually has an enormously positive impact on family life and children's emotional well-being. The value of that cannot be overestimated. Conversely, choosing to go to work full-time immediately after the birth of a baby will usually positively enhance household finances and career self-esteem, but it will commonly have a negative impact on family life and children's emotional well-being.

It is naive and self-deluding to think that when we make such far-reaching choices over how we manage our family lives, we can do so without something having to give.

JacqueslePeacock Thu 22-Nov-12 13:01:17

Xenia, please explain to me why I should leave my 3-week-old baby with a "benefits scrounger" in order to do workfare for no pay?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 22-Nov-12 13:04:04

Delighted to say the Minister is with us and we'll be off shortly.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:05:36

Hello, this is Maria. Thanks for all your questions, hope to get through as many as possible.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:09:34

BIWI

Oh bugger. I am working sad

But my question is something I feel very strongly about. I believe fervently that women should be encouraged back into the workplace (assuming that they want to, of course grin) but why is childcare always assumed to be a woman's issue?

It's even in your OP - with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women.

This makes me really angry. Why is it always the responsibility for women? Until men start taking children and families seriously, and sharing the responsibility for organising childcare, we will never achieve equality for women in the workplace.

Children are produced by parents, not just by women.

Hello BIWI, thanks for your question. You are absolutely right, childcare is the responsibility of both parents. Though in practice, it is mothers who sort out most of the practicalities. It's still a real problem for many parents to get the right childcare in place for their family. That's why recently I announced extra support to set up 6k more childcare businesses.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:12:37

Does that mean that because something generally happens a certain away it should remian unchallenged? And what will new childcare business achieve in terms of making childcare more affordable on the typically low female parental wage?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:13:26

strandednomore

I seriously don't think there is an easy answer to this. If there was, we'd all be doing it. But for me the answer is more about more decent (and decently paid) fleixble and part-time jobs rather than more and more childcare. Two of us earning (eg) £25k per year each and sharing childcare rather than him earning eg £50k and me doing all the childcare.

Strandednomore, you are completely right. The Government has just announced that the right to request flexible working will be open to everyone - encouraging a more flexible ethos in the workplace. This will help carers as well as parents, as other posters have mentioned.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:14:14

StewieGriffinsMom

How do you square your government's policies on women, particularly the destruction of the CSA and the benefits system, with being the Minister for Women?

We've got a strong set of policies to support women, including supporting 2 million of the lowest paid out of income tax altogether - most of whom are women - and extending help with childcare for those that work less than 16 hours a week. A first for government!

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:15:23

The Government has just announced that the right to request flexible working will be open to everyone - encouraging a more flexible ethos in the workplace.

The reality of actually getting the flexibility needed when you are responsible for children, is pretty far removed from this 'announcement'. How do you intend to address this?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:15:31

Xenia

I disagree. Most couples are much happier when they share chores and share children. Heaps of us work full time - both in the couple. It's perfectly possible. There is also a moral imperative to help women do better in work. If one of the couple must stay home let it be men for the next 5000 years until things are evened up a bit.

On the self employed point good point. I never had maternity rights with any of the 5 children as with the first ones you needed 2 years of service and with the last two (twins) I worked for myself. The self employed small business owners who are the backbone of this country and many are women (more people are employed in companies with under 5 staff than any other size) do not feel very encouraged. We have masses of regulation and yes I accept a few bits may be going but I am not holding my breath... and few benefits.

The bottom line is we are in a very bad recession and need much bigger cut backs than already. So my suggestion of much less state provision, removing benefits and subsidies and letting the poor free market which never gets a look in actually operate for a bit is just about the best and cheapest solution.

I agree with you that most couples are happier when they share chores and childcare. And better for children too.

poppyseeds99 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:16:26

Hi Maria,

You're supposed to be Minister for 'Women and Equalities' - yet:
a) your comments on abortion times suggest you're not all that keen on the 'women' part of your role.
b)The government's WorkFare project forces mothers with youngish children on benefits to work for free with no offer of longer-term job prospects.
c) Proposed changes to maternity leave make it possible for women return to work just two weeks after giving birth at the behest of their employers.
d) I notice you're also not one of the MPs supporting Mumsnet's Miscarriage Code of Care proposals.

Can you point to something you actually have achieved for women? Or a voting track record with response to women that you can be proud of? Because at the moment you - and your government - are looking far from credible when it comes to women's rights - at work, at home, and as mothers.

I would absolutely love it if you - a female minister - could stand up for women - and I'd appreciate it if you could point me in the direction of some evidence suggesting that you've done just that.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:17:19

The Government has just announced that the right to request flexible working will be open to everyone

There's a vast difference between asking and getting especially getting without putting your career on the line.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 13:17:31

I am thinking your £500 grants won't go far with respect to increasing provision, not sure in reality it will make much difference to the quantity of places. Not in real terms? . Drop in the ocean springs to mind

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:18:15

Solopower1

Maria, how would you make sure every child had access to affordable before and after school care?

It's so important that we look at this in helping women get back into work. Part of the £2 million pound pot announced last week could be used to help with this and the government's childcare commission is looking at this and will report next year.
We've also extended the early years free entitlement to a 130,000 more 2 year olds. All practical help that makes a difference.

MaureenB Thu 22-Nov-12 13:18:47

Hello Maria,

As the Minister for Women and Equalities, I'd like to ask you to please correct the ongoing inequality for British citizenship by descent. As the law stands, the UK continues to discriminate against those of us born abroad before 1983 to British mothers.

My mum is British but I must register, submit two references, be approved (!) and attend a ceremony* before I can apply for a British passport. If my father was British I could simply apply for a British passport. This inequality is shameful.

*It is the same ceremony that immigrants (without a British parent!) have to attend before gaining citizenship.

letsmakewaves Thu 22-Nov-12 13:18:50

Frontline and back-office public library staff are being shed by the many 100's. The majority are women. How can you justify this "chat" when your Department is neglecting public libraries and is complicit in the loss of these women's livelihoods? Thank you.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:19:21

Porpoise

Hello, Maria.

What's your reaction to the Church of England Synod's decision not to allow women bishops? How do you think it will affect most people's view of the Church of England and its relevance to society today?

I think that it is hugely disappointing. Women make an enormous contribution to church life, and the Church has to properly recognise this. Of course, this is a decision for the Church, but having just come from the House of Commons it is clear how strong the feeling is on this. The Church needs to recognise that concern and act quickly on this issue.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:19:41

We've also extended the early years free entitlement to a 130,000 more 2 year olds. All practical help that makes a difference.

What has this got to do with a question about before and after school care?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:21:55

RatherBeOnThePiste

I am thinking your £500 grants won't go far with respect to increasing provision, not sure in reality it will make much difference to the quantity of places. Not in real terms? . Drop in the ocean springs to mind

These grants are a short term stimulus in these tough times. However they are only part of a much larger package, worth around around £1.9bn.

We particularly targeted the problem of childcare because almost a quarter of those that responded to the childcare commission, which is still ongoing, cited that access to childcare was a real problem.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:21:58

How does David Cameron justify telling the Church of England to "get with the programme" and allow women bishops when he has systematically reduced the number of women in his own cabinet? Have you confronted him with this hypocracy?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:23:15

thereonthestair

Hi. As a mother of a disabled child I have managed to carry on working in a professional field but only because I am self employed, although legally I am also a "worker". In respect of the childcare I would love to get more support, but like Agnes I can't because the NHS cannot provide the therapy and appointments on the same days of the week. As such even if I wanted to I cannot work in a conventional part time job, because I need to be able to drop everything on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (variously depending on the appointments). As such I couldn't do a conventional part time job. But as I am self employed I get no tax relief on the childcare I do use. My DH does but as I understand it if we had another child we wouldn't be able to share the benefits of the new flexible maternity/parental leave as these are employment rights not workers rights.

I pay a lot of tax, and am very lucky I have the financial choice to do this. I know so many people who don't because of difficulties with caring for disabled children. I contribute more than I would receive if I gave it all up and went onto benefits/carers allowance etc. But I believe i am penalised for having a disabled child as there is no childcare who can cover the medical needs effectively, I get no tax relief on the amounts I pay for therapists to cover the treatments the NHS can't provide when i have to pay for them so as to avoid giving up work, as I just can't take the NHS appointments all the time and I get no parental leave as i am a worker not an employee. If you want to keep people like me in work and contributing to society have you got any plans to extend family rights to workers, parental leave rights to allow my husband who is an employee to take bits of time off to allow him to liase with the NHS when they cannot seem to make the appointments on a consistent day of the week, or tax relief when we have to in effect employ someone else to provide therapy/childcare/support so the wheels don't come off. If you don't have these plans do you accept that it may in efefct make many more people like me (and Agnes) give up work when we have much to contribute to society?

thereonthestair, finding the right care for a disabled child can be a huge problem, as you know. It's one of the things that makes it so difficult for the parents of disabled children to get back into work. I would like to see much more support for childcarers to get specialist training. The £2m I announced recently is designed to help with things like this.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:23:17

I wonder if all the 'free' places that have now been taken in my local nursery - meaning I have to look elsewhere - have been taken by working parents or by those who go straight back home to the couch after the 9am drop off...Like I say, what is the reward for trying to support yourself and your children?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:26:27

slug

How does David Cameron justify telling the Church of England to "get with the programme" and allow women bishops when he has systematically reduced the number of women in his own cabinet? Have you confronted him with this hypocracy?

Hello slug. Thank you for your question. In fact, the number of women attending Cabinet has not changed. The PM absolutely does get this - that is why we have now got 24 women ministers in the Government. But there is clearly more to be done, and the PM knows my views on this.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:27:53

Single parents of school-aged children have no option but to work, yet before and after school care seems to be an after thought in this whole 'package anounced by the government'. How can you 'square' this when your policies for pushing as many single parents into work as possible are swinging into practice now, yet the government's childcare commission intend to look at 'before/after school care' next year?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:28:03

"I think that it is hugely disappointing. Women make an enormous contribution to church life, and the Church has to properly recognise this. Of course, this is a decision for the Church, but having just come from the House of Commons it is clear how strong the feeling is on this. The Church needs to recognise that concern and act quickly on this issue"

Why should it be the Church that changes its' thinking? If people wish to go in for such a discriminatory and fantastical belief system, fine...but what does it have to do with an electorate that does not wholly subscribe to same said belief system? Why do the church and state remain intrinsically linked?

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:28:45

Oh dear, what a bit of spin. How many women minister's then? 3 is it?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:29:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:29:47

This £2M you keep mentioning will need to go a long way! Can you explain exactly how you are going to divide it up and actually answer a question properly - 'much more support and for childacerers nd specialist training is a very broad answer . . .

Meglet Thu 22-Nov-12 13:30:10

The right to request flexible working isn't worth the paper it is written on. It should already be in place for working parents.

For instance my role (and many others) at work is not reliant on anyone else, nor do I attend meetings or take phone calls, it is mostly spreadsheets + e-mail based. There isn't a snowballs chance in hell us mere administrators would get flexible working, whereas directors get to work from home.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:31:43

Yes, you could help women a lot by letting your eyes fall upon those men that are allowed to deny responsibility for their offspring due to systems that fail to ensure parenting is a co-responsibility.

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:32:46

Meglet . . . you areabsolutely right but they have to let Clegg announce something

2andout Thu 22-Nov-12 13:33:46

Hi Maria, I would imagine that ensuring women have full control of their fertility and unfettered access to services that enable them to manage this is key to ensuring they can continue to contribute in the workplace. In light of this, what action do you propose to take against groups who protest outside abortion clinics in the UK both harassing and intimidating women who are trying to legally access their services?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:33:54

letsmakewaves

Frontline and back-office public library staff are being shed by the many 100's. The majority are women. How can you justify this "chat" when your Department is neglecting public libraries and is complicit in the loss of these women's livelihoods? Thank you.

letsmakewaves,

I am clear that libraries are hugely important to communities, and especially to parents. Libraries are thriving - 3/4 of children visit one regularly - and lots of libraries are finding new and innovative ways of attracting families. My own library in Basingstoke is offering a wide range of services to do just that. And while we are on the subject, let me be clear that claims that 100s of libraries have closed is just not true. And remember, SureStart centres are also a fantastic place for parents to find books for their children.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:35:09

Hello? <waves> Why are my questions being ignored?

thereonthestair Thu 22-Nov-12 13:35:14

thanks. I think you missed my point though. It's support to keep the parents of disabled children in work that's missing. Support for those who are self employed who don't have employment rights (which therefore can't be shared with my employed DH). Tax relief on the childcare that is paid for. (No vouchers for me). Tax relief on the physio appointments that I pay for (which means I can work when the physio is in my home). I am paying out of my business to employ many people, I then pay again out of my net earnings to employ private healthcare and highly trained childcarers physios, SALTs etc. Why is that not tax deductible?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:35:32

StewieGriffinsMom

That doesn't answer my question about the CSA. The reason many single parent families headed by women live in poverty is because of men refusing to pay maintenance and a government that doesn't give a crap.

The cuts to housing benefit, income support and tax credits have disproportionately affected women forcing more women and children into poverty.

The idea that your government is somehow helping these women is, simply, a lie. You have done anything but.

Instead, you are rewarding men who financially neglect their children.

StewieGriffinsMom, you are absolutely right. That's exactly why we are reforming the CSA - to make it work better in getting children the support they need.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:37:01

let me be clear that claims that 100s of libraries have closed is just not true.

I suggest you go back and read letsmakewaves comment again. She said hundreds of staff are being shed, not 100s of libraries. Is it possible to give a striaght answer without twisting what's being said?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:37:08

"..., you are absolutely right. That's exactly why we are reforming the CSA - to make it work better in getting children the support they need"

Can you elaborate?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:37:57

TheMysteryCat

Why have you refused to meet with the heads of any of the UK's regional theatres? I'm not sure if you're aware, but the arts is one sector where women have much more equality at middle management level, although the senior level is still unequal. I'm surprised that given this covers two areas of your professional responsibility, it has not received any consideration.

I'd also like to know what you are going to do in a positive way for women in the arts, many of whom have lost their jobs due to government cuts.

TheMysteryCat - I haven't refused to meet anyone! In fact, I had the opportunity to meet many regional theatre people on Tuesday. We are spending more than £300m to support 179 theatre organisations up and down the country - including 28 producing theatres. And I'm off to see The Promise this evening - looking forward to it.

TheCrackFox Thu 22-Nov-12 13:37:59

Please stop going on about a £2million fund. The govt probably spends more a year on staples, it is a derisory amount.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:38:09

StewieGriffinsMom, you are absolutely right. That's exactly why we are reforming the CSA - to make it work better in getting children the support they need.

And charging the resident parent to use the service, taking a % from the maintenance taken from the reluctant non resident parent does that?

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 13:38:55

SureStart centres!

Sure Start is being cut, ring fenced budgets removed and not enough money to go round , not the best place to find books surely if they are closed down?!!!

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:39:29

StewieGriffinsMom, you are absolutely right. That's exactly why we are reforming the CSA - to make it work better in getting children the support they need.

. . . and what do mums do in teh meantime, the CSA has never worked! What exactly are you proposing to reform.

. . . for goodness sake answer a question with some detail

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 13:40:34

David Cameron promised that a third of the cabinet would be female (even 33.3% is pathetic why not 50% or even 80% - there are huge numbers of good women around).

In the reshuffle women have 5 of 31 posts. We judge by deeds not words (although "calm down dear" etc has not helped)...

So yes please continue to make your views felt or we will all be heading off to Norway or voting for a party keener to get women to the top.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 13:40:55

Feels like Sure Start has been raided to pay for the free places for 2 year olds. Would you agree Maria?

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:41:33

You know, none of my (many blush) questions have been answered. Indeed they have been skipped over. However, this has answered the very question I need to understand the answer to most; "is this Government doing anything to empower me as a woman and a parent?" No.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:42:08

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots

Hello? <waves> Why are my questions being ignored?

Sorry, not ignoring, just lots of questions! Before and after school care can be a real problem for working parents, especially for older children. There is already help for 70% of childcare costs for people on lower incomes and our Childcare Commission is looking at how we make sure that the money we have to support childcare (which is one of the highest budgets in Europe) is used most effectively. And, the extra money we announced recently will help more childcare providers set up and is designed to stimulate the market right now.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:42:46

Ahardyfool, I'll join you on the invisible step as it seems my questions are also being ignored.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:42:55

I see she's ignoring the abortion time limit questions.

Perhaps in the light of the Ireland case she's reviewing her stance <wishful thinking emoticon>

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:14

RatherBeOnThePiste

Feels like Sure Start has been raided to pay for the free places for 2 year olds. Would you agree Maria?

We are absolutely committed to Sure Start!! We certainly haven't raided it - what we have done though is cut some admin costs so as to protect the frontline services; In these tough times - it's the right thing to do!

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:20

Ahardyfool . . . the Minister seems unable to answer any questions with any detail. me thinks she is one of Cameron's lady puppets. This Governement arent looking to empower people like you, you have too many children and should know better . . . now get back in your box (or go and pick teh kids up).

Meglet Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:32

The government are NOT reforming the CSA, they are making it harder to access. IIRC the recent DWP consultation said that the fee to use the CSA would still not guarantee they would be able to collect money off the absent parent.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:59

"There is already help for 70% of childcare costs for people on lower incomes and our Childcare Commission is looking at how we make sure that the money we have to support childcare (which is one of the highest budgets in Europe) is used most effectively."

I wonder why it is one of the highest budgets in Europe - something to do with the fact that in other countries men don't get to shirk their responsibilities quite as effectively as here..?

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 13:45:00

please can you respond to 2andout's question at 13:33:46, thanks

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:45:11

Ahardyfool

You know, none of my (many blush) questions have been answered. Indeed they have been skipped over. However, this has answered the very question I need to understand the answer to most; "is this Government doing anything to empower me as a woman and a parent?" No.

Hello Ahardyfool, we have record numbers of women in work under this Government. And the changes we are making to flexible working and parental leave will mean men and women can make their own decisions about how they balance work and family life - rather than having decisions made by the state.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 13:45:45

£2 million, is as someone says 'derisory' and it will be given as £500 grants. In the real world, what exactly will that do to help?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:46:57

TheCrackFox

Please stop going on about a £2million fund. The govt probably spends more a year on staples, it is a derisory amount.

£500 grants will help up to 6000 businesses. I don't think that's derisory at all. It's things like adapting premises and covering the set up legal costs that matter to those trying to set things up and as i've mentioned it's part of a much wider package worth well over £1.5bn!

TheCrackFox Thu 22-Nov-12 13:47:03

It doesn't matter that you are covering 70% of after school care for people on lower incomes.

There is no breakfast club where I live, the after school club is full and childminders are like good dust (and charge 31p per hour, per child, mote than the minimum wage).

Parents want to work but there is wrap around childcare is a rarity. Sort it out.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:47:53

Sorry, not ignoring, just lots of questions! Before and after school care can be a real problem for working parents, especially for older children. There is already help for 70% of childcare costs for people on lower incomes and our Childcare Commission is looking at how we make sure that the money we have to support childcare (which is one of the highest budgets in Europe) is used most effectively. And, the extra money we announced recently will help more childcare providers set up and is designed to stimulate the market right now.

Surely cutting local governments budgets has done the complete opposite, and removed the provision of care that was needed for all these extra parents entering the workforce? And providing 70% of the cost of a service that isn't there in the 1st place does nothing to address this issue.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:47:57

"we have record numbers of women in work under this Government."

Really????? When did you count this? At the very beginning of the govt? Because women are losing their jobs in disproportionate amounts during the recession. How do you square this with your comment above?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:49:48

Ahardyfool

"..., you are absolutely right. That's exactly why we are reforming the CSA - to make it work better in getting children the support they need"

Can you elaborate?

Ahardyfool - For too long the CSA simply hasn't worked properly, and the IT system couldn't cope. That's changing, so we will have a system that actually works and for the first time parents will have the proper support they need. I used to look after this in my last job, and will continue to keep a close eye on how things progress. It's really important for families.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 13:50:03

The fewer decisions made by the state the better. I wonder how we can best foster a spirit that one's own family is one's responsibility rather than we will all be supported whether we choose to work cradle to grave by the state as those of us who are small business owners and work very hard do feel a lot of people work very little and we in a sense keep them through all the tax we pay.

The increase in numbers of women working in this recession is great. Even if a woman starts to work at a slight loss it gets her back into the habit. We worked for a year years ago when childcare was more than half of both of our earnings - it was a joint expense of mother and father of course back in the 80s as one hopes it is now in non sexist families (only foolish women assume childcare is a woman's issue).

Thankfully for small business owners the right to request flexible working is just a right to ask. It is perfectly okay for an employer to say no as often it does not work.

What many of us want is much less state spending and much bigger cuts but both parties seem to be much of a muchness on this. None seems prepared to cut back the frontiers of the state and let the free market be free with much lower flat taxes which would hugely benefit enterprise and attract business to the UK.

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:51:01

For goodness' sake. You can make policy after reform after policy. As others have said, this does not change the REALITY for mothers like me.

I am OUT OF WORK due to resignation a couple of weeks ago because I cannot make the numbers work. Nothing you have said will actually change things for me or others like me.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:51:31

as i've mentioned it's part of a much wider package worth well over £1.5bn!

You claim to have set up this £1.5BN package, yet the most fundamental part of working parents' problems, when they have school-aged children, has been a complete afterthought. Not being even considered or looked at until next year. Unbelievable!

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 13:51:59

Oh my word! Are you trying to tell me that the reason my 9 year old isn't supported by his father is because the IT system doesn't work?

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:53:02

£500 grants will help up to 6000 businesses . . . err £500 x 6000 = £3,000,000, didnt you say the amount is £2M!!!

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 13:53:06

I must say I feel very sorry for Maria Miller having to do the difficult, no, impossible job of defending this government's record on women and equality.

Sorry Maria but none of it is really washing. Why don't you just admit they've failed miserably and they don't really give a shit?

kongy Thu 22-Nov-12 13:53:16

Maria, what will you do about giving parents better control of technology to block pornographic TV and webpages and apps?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:53:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 13:55:03

That's changing, so we will have a system that actually works and for the first time parents will have the proper support they need. I used to look after this in my last job, and will continue to keep a close eye on how things progress. It's really important for families.

Absolute nonsense! I currently receive maintenance, regularly, without any hassle whatsoever, through the CSA, and it's the only way I can guarantee my DD will receive the support she is legally entitled to from her father. You start charging me for that service, and taking from the money my DD is entitled to - that's not providing the proper support my DD needs. I'll have no choice but to try and make private arrangements with my ex, and that will last all of 5 minutes. Your so-called new system will ensure my DD endures financial hardship. That is not a system that provides proper support.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:55:07

I've had a lot of questions about abortion. Anything to do with abortion is treated as a matter of personal conscience in Parliament. So, my views on it are my own personal ones. It is important to be clear that the Government never has - and never would - seek to change the law on this. Any proposals for changes in the law would come from a backbench MP who is not a member of the Government. It isn't a matter of party politics.

ChrissyD68 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:56:03

Come on Maria you have 5 minutes to answer a question properly . . . give us some hope . . .

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 13:57:20

Creating more childcare isn't the answer though, is it? Parents still have to pay for childcare, and that is not taking up more that a full time wage for many families.

When I lived in Germany, state run nurseries meant that I paid €300 a month for full time childcare of two children, (aged 3 and 6yo)

Do you know what that would cost a family in UK?

Why don't we invest in nurseries rather than in individual tax credits for working families?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:57:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 13:57:43

But don't you think it's a bit disingenuous to make that bland statement when, as the Minister for Women you are on record as having fairly anti-woman opinions on the subject?

Hardly engenders much faith in you or your position.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:58:03

slug

"we have record numbers of women in work under this Government."

Really????? When did you count this? At the very beginning of the govt? Because women are losing their jobs in disproportionate amounts during the recession. How do you square this with your comment above?

Slug, the stats are official statistics, independent of Government. They show that there are more than a quarter of a million more women in work now than in 2010. Overall, a million new jobs have been created in the private sector this country in the past two years. What is equally true is that there are more women than ever before putting themselves forward for jobs, which is why it is really important that we modernise our workplaces, to make sure they can balance work and home.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 13:58:54

'The CSA does not work because men refuse to pay maintenance.

The IT system has nothing to do with it. Men refuse to pay. No one makes them.'

exactly.

2andout Thu 22-Nov-12 13:59:32

Please could you answer my question on what you personally, as Minister for Women, are going to do to stop the harassment of women trying to access abortion services in this country. It is disgraceful and shocking that this is simply being brushed under the carpet.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 13:59:51

'Slug, the stats are official statistics, independent of Government. They show that there are more than a quarter of a million more women in work now than in 2010.'

<sigh>
And how many of those jobs are part-time?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:00:04

which is why it is really important that we modernise our workplaces, to make sure they can balance work and home.

Again, how do you intend to address this? There is no point saying that people have the right to request flexible working when the reality is that does not happen for many, many people. How do you intend to change that?

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 14:00:55

Record numbers of women in poorly paid part time work don't you mean?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:01:08

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern

I must say I feel very sorry for Maria Miller having to do the difficult, no, impossible job of defending this government's record on women and equality.

Sorry Maria but none of it is really washing. Why don't you just admit they've failed miserably and they don't really give a shit?

Completely disagree! This Government has done a huge amount for women. Like putting more support in place for childcare, shared parental leave, flexible working, and there are more women on the boards of our top companies. And our tax changes recognise the fact that the cost of living is a real concern for women too. Yes, there is much more to do, but I am proud of our achievements so far.

jarndyceandjarndyce Thu 22-Nov-12 14:01:40

"Anything to do with abortion is treated as a matter of personal conscience in Parliament"

......right.

So if it's so personal, why are you making statements about it?

[http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/20/maria-miller-abortion-20-weeks_n_2163843.html?ncid=GEP]

If you don't intend to make any changes to the abortion limit, why on earth mention that you think it should be change? Do you not think that could be inflammatory?

Why mention it at all?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:01:44

Ahardyfool

You know, none of my (many blush) questions have been answered. Indeed they have been skipped over. However, this has answered the very question I need to understand the answer to most; "is this Government doing anything to empower me as a woman and a parent?" No.

They aren't been ignored, just trying to get through all the questions. There are more than a quarter of a million more women in work than in 2010, we're increasing female participation sport, we're got a childcare package worth over a billion pounds, we're reforming the education system to give our children the best chance.

Plus it's important to recognise that women want to know that we are dealing with the deficit and the economy, That we aren't leaving a huge debt burden for our children to pay in the future.

jarndyceandjarndyce Thu 22-Nov-12 14:02:26

ALSO-

How do you feel about Nadine Dories being voted our of I'M a Celeb? Are you pleased?

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 14:02:46

Proud hmm

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:02:54

2andout

Please could you answer my question on what you personally, as Minister for Women, are going to do to stop the harassment of women trying to access abortion services in this country. It is disgraceful and shocking that this is simply being brushed under the carpet.

2andout, this is completely unacceptable and should always be reported directly to the police.

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 14:03:23

Maria,

That was a very backward way to answer my question when the arts council has been cut by 50%, local authority funding has been reduced on average by 30% and in some cases reduced to nil, not to mention the large number of arts organisations that recently had their funding cut entirely.

Also, according to Danny Boyle and Nicholas hytner, you may have been there, but did not engage with a single one, or visit their venues.

So, what exactly have you done for the arts? I can't see anything at all.

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:04:09

jarndyceandjarndyce

"Anything to do with abortion is treated as a matter of personal conscience in Parliament"

......right.

So if it's so personal, why are you making statements about it?

[http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/20/maria-miller-abortion-20-weeks_n_2163843.html?ncid=GEP]

If you don't intend to make any changes to the abortion limit, why on earth mention that you think it should be change? Do you not think that could be inflammatory?

Why mention it at all?

It's NOT something I've raised, it's something that journalists keep raising with me.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:04:23

This Government has done a huge amount for women. Like putting more support in place for childcare, shared parental leave, flexible working

<exasperated sigh>

You have confirmed on this very thread that the 'support' for childcare spectacularly missed the glaringly obvious, yet vitally important, provision of before and after school care. Flexible working - for the 3rd time, how do you intend to make that a realistic possibility for working parents?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:05:08

jarndyceandjarndyce

ALSO-

How do you feel about Nadine Dories being voted our of I'M a Celeb? Are you pleased?

Yes - she can get back to doing her job as an MP!

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 14:05:13

Maria
Why would you say you are committed to SureStart, when places like Trafford are seeing their SureStart centre closing.

And when local residents went to a local meeting, the Tory councillors walked out, refusing to answer questions of SureStart closure

story here

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:05:36

2andout, this is completely unacceptable and should always be reported directly to the police.

So the answer is you will do nothing?

2andout Thu 22-Nov-12 14:06:08

Gosh, I wonder why the clinics haven't thought of that themselves?? Clearly the police are either unwilling or unable to act here. So again I ask, what are YOU going to do about it?

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 14:06:16

P.s the promise is on in London, so what are you going to see in the rest of the uk?

jarndyceandjarndyce Thu 22-Nov-12 14:09:01

"It's NOT something I've raised, it's something that journalists keep raising with me."

Ahh I see. Thanks for clearing that up. Perhaps in future you could decline to comment your personal opinions on abortion, then people wouldn't get the impression that the tories are anti-abortion.

NewNames Thu 22-Nov-12 14:09:15

You voted against gay adoption rights, against the human fertilisation and embryology bill which would give lesbian couples the right to treatment, against the process of the racial and religious hatred bill and you are anti-choice.

What is is about you that makes you a good choice to be the minister for equalities?

Ooh, hope I've not missed the boat -

Maria, I'd love to go back to work but full time doesn't work for our me (and many others) alongside juggling a happy home. I've found there are next to no jobs in my profession but it would make so much sense to the British economy for there to be more, to make it easier for hard working parents to contribute, keep careers going and raise happy children.

Sorry if it's been covered already.

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 14:11:35

I think it's interesting just how little importance culture and equality/women's issue hold for the government, when they are all shoved under the remit of one person...

Oh and second question (if it's a silly one does that mean it doesn't break the one-question-only rule please?)

How long can you hold your breath for?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:12:09

poppyseeds99

Hi Maria,

You're supposed to be Minister for 'Women and Equalities' - yet:
a) your comments on abortion times suggest you're not all that keen on the 'women' part of your role.
b)The government's WorkFare project forces mothers with youngish children on benefits to work for free with no offer of longer-term job prospects.
c) Proposed changes to maternity leave make it possible for women return to work just two weeks after giving birth at the behest of their employers.
d) I notice you're also not one of the MPs supporting Mumsnet's Miscarriage Code of Care proposals.

Can you point to something you actually have achieved for women? Or a voting track record with response to women that you can be proud of? Because at the moment you - and your government - are looking far from credible when it comes to women's rights - at work, at home, and as mothers.

I would absolutely love it if you - a female minister - could stand up for women - and I'd appreciate it if you could point me in the direction of some evidence suggesting that you've done just that.

Thank you for highlighting the miscarriage campaign. It seems to me that this proposes some sensible support for women going through an incredibly difficult experience, and I'll raise it with the health minister.

With record numbers of women in work, we need to have workplaces that are fit for women as well as men. That is why the changes we are making (including flexible working, shared parental leave, more support for childcare, plus lifting the lowest paid workers out of tax altogether) are so vital. These are real achievements of this Government and long overdue.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 14:12:18

'Completely disagree! This Government has done a huge amount for women. Like putting more support in place for childcare, shared parental leave, flexible working, and there are more women on the boards of our top companies. And our tax changes recognise the fact that the cost of living is a real concern for women too. Yes, there is much more to do, but I am proud of our achievements so far.'

Why does that feel to me like the bit in Animal Farm where Squealer tells the hungry animals all production on the farm has increased?

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 14:13:07

Dear mumsnetters,

Thank you for all your questions. I only wish I had more time. Do please invite me back.

Maria

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 14:13:35

one person who can't answer a single question properly hmm

I can't believe I used to vote for this lot

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 14:15:52

The people you claim to be helping are here telling you your plans will not help them. Go figure.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:16:16

These are real achievements of this Government and long overdue.

Are you for real? Real achievement? To completely overlook the most important part of support for working parents of school aged children i.e. before and after school care, is not a 'real achievement'. It's more a sign of complete ignorance or incompetence. Flexible working - again, for the 4th time, give us some tangible, factual, real examples of how you have 'achieved' anything of substance on this issue.

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 14:16:52

The cih report published today highlighted that all lone parents with three or less children will be substantially worse off under universal credit. As the majority of lone parents are women I fail to see how this is in any way supportive.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 14:17:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bonsoir Thu 22-Nov-12 14:17:39

Thank you Maria, that was a really clear demonstration that you understand absolutely nothing about the issues for which you have responsibility. We know where we stand with you smile

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:18:00

Do please invite me back.

shock

TheCrackFox Thu 22-Nov-12 14:18:41

That is an hour out of my life that I will never get back.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 14:19:11

I thought they were the perfect politician answers...

Ahardyfool Thu 22-Nov-12 14:19:41

Last night I was full of enthusiasm regarding this webchat 'opportunity'. Now I just feel dejected and demoralised.

Thanks mumsnet - because if nothing else this proved exactly what I thought already. sad

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 14:19:59

I was just thinking the same, crackfox!

kaz1119 Thu 22-Nov-12 14:20:17

Wtf was that waffle all about shock

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 14:22:01

I thought they were the perfect politician answers...

Yup, self serving, waffle, spin, tainted with just the right level of ignorance/arrogance to boot. Just perfect...

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 22-Nov-12 14:23:03

"I am proud of our achievements so far"

Lordy

confused

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 14:23:41

Agree, it was all total twaddle and doublespeak.

So cross.

CaramelisedOnion Thu 22-Nov-12 14:25:23

Yep what a load of spin and not really any conclusive answers, peppered with a couple of displays of ignorance.

2andout

*Please could you answer my question on what you personally, as Minister for Women, are going to do to stop the harassment of women trying to access abortion services in this country. It is disgraceful and shocking that this is simply being brushed under the carpet.

2andout, this is completely unacceptable and should always be reported directly to the police. *

the above question particularly demonstrates Maria's inability to answer a quesion. Unless she is saying that she personally will be reporting the incident to the police on behalf of every woman every woman who has this happen to the them and then backing them all the way then she did not answer the question.

What a load of old tosh.

slug Thu 22-Nov-12 14:33:04

It just shows she didn't do her research. Did she honestly expect to have a nice friendly chat with the mummies where she could spin a few fluffy good news stories to general acclaim?

Does the term "Nest of vipers" mean nothing to her?

LadyMaryChristmas Thu 22-Nov-12 14:35:24

Can you invite her back so that she can answer the questions properly please? She's answered very little, and of those that she has answered they have been mostly the same topic, with the same answer. hmm

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 22-Nov-12 14:38:30

Blimey she was even more hopeless than most of them.

Boring as well.

Careful, judicious evasion.

Piss-poor.

<Gavel>

Next.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 14:41:40

Slug she didn't even manage to find any proper fluffy good news stories to bring with her sad
(Not that I am blaming her if there just aren't any.)

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 14:43:02

She harked on about the £2m earmarked for new childcare - as if we are too stupid to notice that is a paltry sum, and will do no good whatsoever.

LadyMaryChristmas Thu 22-Nov-12 14:45:38

I'm surprised no one asked her which biscuit she likes. She must have prepared for this question and nothing else

letsmakewaves Thu 22-Nov-12 14:47:36

I had hoped you might address the issue of the 100's of library staff who are losing their livelihoods (the majority of whom are women) - but you have confused them with the facilities in which they work. Could you please try again to answer the question? Thank you.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 22-Nov-12 14:49:43

I'm left slightly confused by her CSA obfuscation.

She seemed to be agreeing with SGM that her govt has made things worse.

What is she going to do about the majority of Non-Resident Parents who don't pay maintenance then?

<Baffled>

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 14:50:39

MmeL But that is the thing is'nt it: silly little wimmin' are supposed to gasp "Ooooh £2000000. That's A Lot, yes? They must do a lot to help silly ol' us"

It's patronising.

There are probably women with PHDs in mathematics and Economics contributing to this thread.

Tax deductible childcare. More women in work. Imho.

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 14:51:58

GIve them more money Fast (NRP)

LadyMaryChristmas Thu 22-Nov-12 14:53:48

2 million divided by all of the families who need help with childcare is going to be next to nothing. It's not well thought through at all. What childcare can you get for a tenner? confused

I'd like to see school fees tax deductible. I can't see that happening again though. sad

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 15:31:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 15:41:34

27 answers - is that a low record?

I've just read through her answers (it didn't take long, I could have written more with a fidgety toddler on my lap, while flitting across to yet another job application).

What a damp squib of a webchat! Quite glad I made it too late to waste my time not having anything answered.

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 16:05:25

It's certainly a low...and not many answered questions.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 16:36:06

The £2m she's 'banged' on about seems to be made of magic elastic - it's supposed to address the shortage of before and after school care for the entire nation, as well as address the shortage of specialised child care providers trained to provide childcare for children with special needs, again, for the entire counrty. A whole £2m is going to do all this. hmm

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 22-Nov-12 16:39:53

Well, that was a waste of time. It was like the world's most boring party political broadcast.

cleanandclothed Thu 22-Nov-12 16:51:06

That was appalling! Read like a cut and paste spin job with no research and no willingness to engage .

HullyEastergully Thu 22-Nov-12 17:03:37

Beyond piss poor.

Why did you bother?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 17:18:56

The word 'omnishambles' springs to mind...

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 22-Nov-12 17:20:27

LOL at the £2m. paying for everything.

I hardly think we need to worry about the deficit if £2m goes so far...

Lulumama Thu 22-Nov-12 17:23:42

what an absolute shambolic embarassment.

I am ashamed for her.

total and utter spin. not even soundbites. just banal , pat on the head, there there ladies rubbish.

it would be laughable if not so frightening

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 17:26:47

Fastidia
It is a bit feeding the five thousand, with that £2m. Put the bible down, Maria. Miracles don't really happen.

LadyMaryChristmas Thu 22-Nov-12 17:53:07

grin Did she say how many families it was supposed to help? Who is it targeted at?

corlan Thu 22-Nov-12 17:57:12

What a load of old bollocks.

Still, I don't know why I expected any better.

Wouldn't it be good if we could do these Q&A's via webcam, so we might have more chance of pinning politicians down to give a proper answer?

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 18:04:31

"Lulumama Thu 22-Nov-12 17:23:42

just banal , pat on the head, there there ladies rubbish.

it would be laughable if not so frightening"

Yes. This ^

corlan Thu 22-Nov-12 18:06:48

I did smile at Do please invite me back

And what would be the point of that?

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 22-Nov-12 18:30:14

<Snort>

Come back so that I can fail to answer questions again.

Oh yes please.

grin

MayaAngelCool Thu 22-Nov-12 18:36:24

Yes, her parting post was hilarious! It really sounded like she wanted to be invited back, didn't it?! grin

HullyEastergully Thu 22-Nov-12 18:50:53

I believed her. I think she really cares about like women and kids and shit and theatre and that and so does Dave.

Meglet Thu 22-Nov-12 18:56:11

What really scares me is that MM isn't a new or shadow minister, not that it would excuse her inability to engage and listen, but she's in the cabinet FFS.

Maybe I'll encourage the DC's to be MP's. Huge salary and you don't even have to put much effort in.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 19:00:51

What a load of old shite.

Just come in from work to feed the DCs and watch them swan out for the evening with Disney Dad (who is too tight to even feed them), hoping to see that I might have made a few bob on EbaY for Christmas.

The Minister doesn't have a fucking clue.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 19:07:09

Yeah with a government like this you really need a Minister for Women who is on your side and will fight for women, not one who can't be bothered.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 19:14:49

Can I just say, that the Minister's choosing one of Xenia's posts to agree with, was fucking sublime.

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 19:22:12

"LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 19:00:51
The Minister doesn't have a fucking clue."

No is a complete sentence she doesn't I spoiled it right there

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 22-Nov-12 19:23:51

LineRunner, I too enjoyed that moment.

grin

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:05:22

I seriously feel a Malcolm Tucker moment coming on.

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 20:06:33

I'd love to see Justine's face! I bet everyone else at MNHQ was studiously avoiding eye-contact and rushing out to the loo/to get coffee ...

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 20:07:24

That was a truly terrible web chat. And how fucking patronising that the minister for Women and Equalities should think that it is acceptable to talk to us like this.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:11:40

I think that the Minister should be fucking ashamed to talk to woman like that.

Just when you thought you'd heard every last useless cliche-ridden piece of shite-infested political nothingness, on comes Maria Miller with her Special Equalities Book Of Vacuous Non-Specific Insulting Nothingness and away we go.

Meglet Thu 22-Nov-12 20:13:47

It's alright for you lot, she's my bloody MP <<sigh>>. I have to put up with her in the local paper every week. I suppose she inherited a safe seat so it doesn't matter what she does.

And no, I certainly did not vote for her. And, yes, she is always this crap when she responds about anything.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:19:16

It's not just that she's a Minister - she's the fucking Secretary of State.

mcmooncup Thu 22-Nov-12 20:22:48

Well what an utter wanker she is

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:26:53

It's very telling that the government added her ministership for Women and Equalities on to what she presumably sees as her proper job in Media, Culture and Sport.

Although she may be shit at Media, Culture and Sport as well.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:28:39

That could be her sop to equality I suppose - crap at it all.

mcmooncup Thu 22-Nov-12 20:30:13

She literally didn't have a clue about what some of the questions were getting at.

Tragic

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 20:32:43

One hour is definitely not enough for many of these web chats.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 22-Nov-12 20:33:30

I saw a her on Question Time a while ago, she was crap and vacuous then too.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 22-Nov-12 20:34:11

'I saw her', no idea why there's an extra 'a' blush

MotherSouperior Thu 22-Nov-12 20:36:57

I was disappointed to see I'd missed the web chat, as I wanted to ask why childcare costs aren't tax-deductible if you're self-employed. But I didn't miss anything, did I?

Maria, love, that was a complete waste of typing. I really hope it was one of your SPADs on the keyboard, copying and pasting from an old election pamphlet, while you were sat back fingering a box of chocolates like Matt Lucas's Barbara Cartland.

Incidentally, MNHQ did Maria come in by herself or does she have advisers to help her with answers or compose replies? Because if this is the best Maria and the cream of CCHQ can do, we really are fucked.

(And I was another one who - almost, almost - voted Dave at the last GE... That female vote is really going to flood back in for you, isn't it?)

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:38:58

Just remember.

This country's Minister for Women agrees with Xenia.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 22-Nov-12 20:42:12

"Just remember.

This country's Minister for Women agrees with Xenia."

Maybe if she does come back, we could hunt down Gabby Loggon and she could agree with him too.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:43:26

They could form a People's Panel for Women.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 22-Nov-12 20:48:12

Maybe the ConDems are planning to reverse the Representation of the People Act before the next election.
It's the only possible explanation I can think of for why they're so uninterested in the female vote.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 20:49:04

you know what xenia opinion is as valid as anyone else.whats all the o'er about
would you refer if it were one of your mates from the youse all luffly quiche
you look v lame and puerile sniggering about a named poster

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 20:53:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 20:57:08

dont recall who she was
but for me spirit of mn is all oinion valid
mn was previously cliquey and had its names everyone sucked their arse,no need go back to that or to set anyone up as a mn pantomime villain

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 20:57:47

I can barely wait for Miller's response to Leveson.

ATourchOfInsanity Thu 22-Nov-12 20:59:38

Just had a chance to look at her responses.
MNHQ, was there actually any point in asking questions beforehand?
She certainly harped on about the quarter of a million more women back in work a lot but wasn't sufficiently rehearsed in how that actually affects women practically, with childcare for example.
She is a woman, right?
Maybe she is Xenia?

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:01:17

oh behave
you dont like a politicians answer, and its o'er mn

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 21:02:06

Miller has no culture experience at all. She's never bothered to attend any culture votes and openly admitted to a lack of interest in the subject.

I love that when asked about regional theatre she says how delighted she is to be going off to the fucking donmar in London, which isn't even a publicly funded theatre.

And so rude about the arts council. She patently has no idea at all.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:04:56

She didn't address how women are facing the brunt of the job losses in local government, either.

MotherSouperior Thu 22-Nov-12 21:05:40

After I read the webchat, I thought I'd rather have anyone of the MN posters here as Secretary of State for 'fillies', as Dave no doubt calls us. At least we did our research, knew our facts and could give a straight answer.

Maria Miller. The Cabinet's very own Terri Coverley.

And Leveson, yeah. Can't wait. How Jeremy Hunt got promoted after that appearance beggars bloody belief. They must think we are idiots.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 21:06:06

I think we should get her back and hook her up to a small charge of electricity, a bit like im a sleb, linked to a specially adapted MN app where we all get the chance to send a small electric shock via the power of MN every time she types a fucking pointless, patronising bullshit response to serious questions. She's the fucking minister for Women and thinks its acceptable to speak to posters like that?angry

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:09:57

Do you think she was really in the MNHQ office?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 21:13:10

I think we need Justine or someone who was there to post some photos to prove she was actually there. It really is appalling how 'she' handled this 'web chat'.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:14:16

speak to posters like what?what level of deference and gushing did you expect
naturally she will some on,fight her corner stick to party line.as politicians do
dont necessarily agree with her,but is this really just a tory bash thing

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 22-Nov-12 21:14:49

"Do you know, i miss Gabby."

Yes, I do

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:15:51

Looking back, Justine says 'The Minister is with us and we'll be off shortly.'

It might have been a remote-bot-minister.

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 21:16:57

No, scottishmummy, it isn't a tory bash thing. She was truly awful and didn't answer questions. Anyone - tory, labour, libdem, UKIP would get criticised for that.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:18:50

yes.fill yer boots.maybe she wasn't there maybe was a maaaaan
so based on no likey answers,its clutch the pearls and how very dare she
i expect all politicians to deflect,avoid,paraphrase and trot out party spiel

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:18:55

She didn't read the questions. And then she didn't answer the questions.

Why bother coming on?

Patronising nonsense.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:20:07

Did she 'deflect' or 'fight her corner'?

I thought she was just utterly hopeless.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:22:28

they all do that im afraid.do you exect a women to appeal to all women
im bemused at the how dare wimmins minister speak to us like that complaints
did you expect empathy and//or affinity because she is a woman.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 21:23:48

She gets paid over £100k plus expenses for what she does. And yet she seems to know fuck all about what she has responsibility for as minister for women and equalities.

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 21:25:24

She was contemptuous and rude. Hundreds, if not thousands, of women (and men) who work in the arts for local authorities and charities have lost their jobs because of the government cuts and all she could do was quote the current number of arts council funded organisations. No reference to anything, not even the half baked legacy report issued this week, which gives not concrete plan and no response to Boyle and hyntner's damning article in the guardian about her lack of interest and understanding of the arts.

She didn't reply to other questions directly either and finished with some pithy remark.

And oh the irony, that she is also responsible for digital and media, including social media...

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 21:25:26

Since when is it acceptable for anyone to patronise posters SM?

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:26:21

The point is that she is semmingly crap at her job. Like bunch and a load of other people have pointed put on the basis of having read the actual webchat.

We are fairly interested at how someone in that position can be so crap at their job.

TheCrackFox Thu 22-Nov-12 21:34:31

I didn't expect affinity with her because she is a woman But I did expect her to make a more convincing job of answering the questions. It all just smacked of a lack of preparation.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 21:40:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:42:53

Maria Miller is certainly no Sarah Teather.

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 21:43:24

Well, scottishmummy, she is the Minister for women, which is why I sort of - stupidly, naively, expected her to answer questions about women, posted by women, in an intelligent and considered kind of way.

<kicks self for foolish naivete>

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 21:46:20

SM
What does this mean:

'but for me spirit of mn is all oinion valid'

onion valid?

I don't think that we would automatically bond with Maria Miller because she is a woman, or that we expect more of her. Other than perhaps hoping that a woman would have more understanding of the issues that women in UK face. I doubt she has a clue about what normal women in UK are concerned about.

I also think that she is in a high position in government, arguably the highest woman politician in the country, and for her to come on here completely unprepared to answer the questions is extremely poor.

She was 'keen to hear your thoughts on how to get more women into work, with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women. She also wants to hear your thoughts on how the government can make workplaces more equal environments, where women can better realise their potential' according to the OP of this thread.

I can't see that she learned anything of our issues with childcare, or has even a basic understanding of the problems facing women when we go back to work.

If I have to pay £50 a day for childcare, that makes £1000 a month (working 20 days). But if I only earn NMW, I bring in LESS than my childcare costs. How is that supposed to work?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 21:46:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:54:52

im commenting on the puerile..is she a man..was she really there..maybe she imposter
by all means if you think she gave poor representation, inadequate answers do comment
but this oooh shes that she that is really silly

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:56:58

lindor you've understood enough of my post to repsond at length
i dont need to explain an obvious spelling mistake
nor do you need to ask,unless you're being facetious

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 21:58:54

No, I did not say 'Is she a man.'

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 21:59:49

i didnt attribute it to you

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 22:02:35

Oh, fair enough. I must have missed who said that they thought Maria Miller's posts were being posted by a man. I thought I had read the webchat quite thoroughly.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 22:07:30

SM
I am sorry, but I really didn't understand it. Not being rude (or facetious, which incidentally was my Grandad's favourite word)

And my response was to your other posts, not about that one, which I did not comprehend.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 22:11:52

And I do think that it's important to read the whole actual webchat including the questions asked before the Minister started responding, not just the responses afterwards.

MotherSouperior Thu 22-Nov-12 22:13:25

I was the one who wondered if her SPADs were with her/posting for her. And it's a genuine question. I want to know if this webchat was her being hopeless, unshepherded, un'minded' or whether there was a team from CCHQ in and the responses here represent the sum total of their work. Is this an individual or a collective failing?

It's not puerile to me, Scottishmummy. It's a valid question.

And I'd like to know the answer.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 22:16:56

SPADs can be women, ScottishMummy.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:20:52

musing one is unhappy with inadeqate posts, feeling fobbed off
is wholly different from is she imposter,is she a mn poster,did she really write posts
thats the peurile points im commenting on

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 22:28:15

<yawns>

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 22:30:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snorbs Thu 22-Nov-12 22:31:18

Hats off to you Maria Miller. Up until today I thought Edward Timpson's recent webchat was a master-class in evasiveness, deliberate failure to get the point and general pointless waste of time.

But you? This? You have successfully managed to say absolutely nothing of any substance. Bravo. They might as well have just sent in a few pieces of card with soundbites printed on them accompanied by a picture of your face glued to a balloon on a stick.

Patronising the people you are supposed to be representing might gain you a few brownie points in the cabinet but, really, all you have managed to do is clearly demonstrate the contempt your government holds women in.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:34:45

as i said not what you ask
its how you ask it
and some points about the quality of her answers were v puerile

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 22-Nov-12 22:39:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 22:40:31

grin

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 22:42:54

SM
Did you see my apology? It's quite rude to ignore when someone apologises, IMO

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:47:40

well some of you are disputing whether she wrote the words on the screen..was it an imposter..show a photo to corroborate she was there
puerile
is that really your best shot at it.oh dear

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 22:52:28

Are you being sponsored over the number of times you can post the word puerile SM? Or do you feel the need to repeat your point to the puerile contributors who you think missed your point the 1st 7 times you made your point?

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:55:22

yawn

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 22:56:00

grin

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 22:56:17

Anyway, moving on, is anyone watching Questiontime?

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 22:57:06

And you are complaining that posters on this thread are being puerile?

Pot. Kettle. Black

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:57:50

aye all you conspiracy theorists could ponder is it real,is it man,is it mn poster

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:59:17

do keep up linor
given carrots got the joke ill let her expalin
seeing you selectively not know what my posts are about

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:00:02

It's just that Alex Salmond isn't on this week. I think he's in his study pissed on whiskey and posting on MN.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:00:49

study and alex salmon thers an oxymoron

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:00:55

No, we were wondering if she had staff with her. Advisers. Who should advise her on what she was posting and how she was replying to questions.

It's a valid question, about whether she and her staff took this webchat seriously. Considering MN has a bit of a reputation for being tough on webchat guests.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 23:01:47

grin @ line runner

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:02:28

It was, seriously, a catastrophe of a webchat for the government.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:02:42

What are you talking about? Either take part in the discussion or don't.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:03:13

asking if she had advisers or assistance is valid
o'er can i see a photo pleeeeese justine.puerile

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 23:03:39

What linerunner said. <gavel>

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:03:50

And I don't selectively not know why your posts are about.

I don't understand a word you say.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:04:59

your comprehension,or lack of it isnt my issue linrod
clearly i am participating in conversation
Are you

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:05:43

Anyway. Getting back to the webchat.

Surestart.

Doesn't she know that that surestart is being cut across the country?

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:06:49

curious how you apparently cant comprehend my psots
but yet comprehend enough to be snippy
so you have selective comprehension

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:09:27

Look.

I apologised for misunderstanding your post. I truly did not understand it. It wasn't being snippy or puerile or anything else. It was a misunderstanding.

You ignored me other than to snipe at me.

I'm done apologising.

But I'm keeping the name Linrod.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:17:37

I found Miller's lack of awareness about the demise of SureStart and children's centres extremely odd.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Nov-12 23:20:07

Linerunner
I'm on phone so can't find the post but she did say that surestart wasn't being cut, didn't she?

How can she be unaware of the cuts to this programme?

BIWI Thu 22-Nov-12 23:20:27

<snigger at Linrod>
grin

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:22:03

MmeLinrod I'll have a look and try to re-post it in a min.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:23:18

MariaMillerMP Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:14

RatherBeOnThePiste
Feels like Sure Start has been raided to pay for the free places for 2 year olds. Would you agree Maria?

We are absolutely committed to Sure Start!! We certainly haven't raided it - what we have done though is cut some admin costs so as to protect the frontline services; In these tough times - it's the right thing to do!

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Nov-12 23:24:50

Well Linrod there's your answer; it's being cut.

MmeLinrod Thu 22-Nov-12 23:25:40

Cut admin costs and protects frontline services ? She has to be joking. Does she think we haven't noticed?

I namechanged btw. This makes me feel rather powerful.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 23:27:24

I think that magic 2 million squid is also 'designed' to stretch even further to 'support' sure start. Ignoring of course the centres that have and are in the process of closing.

MmeLinrod Thu 22-Nov-12 23:29:05

Hmm. He answer is designed to sound as if the cuts are all back office. But I know that centers are being closed. Someone on twitter was taking about the Trafford centre recently.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:29:24

cut some admin costs

If Miller actually believes that, she's dangerous to women.

She also fluffed it on abortion.

TheMysteryCat Thu 22-Nov-12 23:31:32

Cut admin?

Our local sure start has lost 50% of it's groups and activities. Of what remains, you need a hv referral to attend 50% of groups. The open play session is turning large groups of people away every week.

Miller's admin looks an awful lot like front line from where I am.

Oh, and maybe it's my imagination (as miller is so confident that employment for women is improving), but I'm pretty sure that half the female staff lost their jobs too...

MmeLinrod Thu 22-Nov-12 23:34:49

Agree. Completely disengenous to argue that journalists keep bringing it up. That was her chance to state that she does not allow her personal opinions to interfere with her job, and that she supports the government stance on abortion.

LineRunner Thu 22-Nov-12 23:39:20

Well, Miller's answers are on here for posterity. I do hope they are widely discussed. She makes Danny Alexander look like fucking Socrates.

Also QT (David Dimbleby) just reminded us that by next week Levson will have reported.

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:41:54

intersting will be her reading and debrief of the thread with her staffers

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 23-Nov-12 00:03:18

Oh that's why Charlotte Church is going to be on QT next week.

Because of Leveson

EchoBitch Fri 23-Nov-12 00:18:03

But we will never know will we sm?

They're all out to get us.

The bastards.

blondieminx Fri 23-Nov-12 00:27:12

I have to say this was the most depressing webchat ever.

The minister wasn't prepared, and indeed sounds massively uninterested in the issues of the people in the sectors she has responsibility for. She came across very badly.

OptimisticPessimist Fri 23-Nov-12 00:48:34

This Government has done a huge amount for women. Like putting more support in place for childcare,

What, you mean like cutting the childcare element of tax credits as part of the Coalition's first budget? A policy that, by the way, had a direct impact on me resigning from my job.

Totally agree with SGM's points about the CSA as well.

HanSolo Fri 23-Nov-12 00:51:06

Bit disappointing really.

I can't stop laughing at £2m spread across 6000 businesses!

That will help families find affordable childcare won't it?

nongenderbias9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:21:10

Minister for women and equalities? Who's that? Why does such a post exist?
There are gender issues which affect women methinks, but conversly there are gender issues which effect men.

Why is there no Minister for men and equalities?

For every inequality that women experience their are similar experiences for men. Mum friendly family courts, social services prejudices favouring women as controllers of childcare, biased parental leave conditions after baby is born, to mention a few.......(12 months leave for Mum and two weeks for Dad!)

Inequality is an issue in itself and one where it's best to take off those rose tinted spectacles.

If women are to be treated fairly in the work place they will have to relinquish their vice-like grip on chidcare methinks

nongenderbias9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:48:38

I agree with BIWI. The solution to all equality problems is really quite simple. Change the law to allow men into childcare. Men are equally good childcarers (some better and some worse). What's wrong is the laws (such as parental leave) which place the responsibility of childcare firmly on the shoulders of women. This is why when Mum and Dad split, Mum is left with childcare and Dad is left footing the bill and with very little chance of continuing a relationship with his children............
This is the main contributor to the malaise in our society, such that we have more people in prison, and our educational standards are lower than most of our European counterparts. Socially we are one of the most backward Country's in the world holding on to age old notions that place women at home and men in the work place or at war............don't get me started

slug Fri 23-Nov-12 11:07:38
FivesAndNorks Fri 23-Nov-12 11:12:56

Men are allowed in childcare

Well, it's very clear she knew what she came on to say and she said it, irrespective of what questions were actually asked.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Fri 23-Nov-12 12:59:50

'Minister for women and equalities? Who's that? Why does such a post exist?
There are gender issues which affect women methinks, but conversly there are gender issues which effect men.
Why is there no Minister for men and equalities?'

I bet that's what Maria's cabinet colleagues say every time she turns up for a meeting.

LineRunner Fri 23-Nov-12 16:08:22

Do you think she will be on Questiontime next week?

LineRunner Fri 23-Nov-12 16:20:58

Oh maybe not. They already have a Conservative lined up - David Jones MP.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 23-Nov-12 17:45:52

"For every inequality that women experience their are similar experiences for men."

Oh spot the whiner.

When 2 men a week are being murdered by their partners and they're paid less than women for having penises, then I'll sympathise. When 25% of them can look forward to being raped or sexually assaulted with a less than 1% chance their attacker will be jailed, you'll have a point. When 1 in 4 of them live with chronic domestic violence, you'll have a point.

As for women having a vice-like grip of childcare - why aren't men marching in the street for the right to paternity leave? Why aren't they demanding the right to go part time and give up their pension rights? And how come the majority of non-resident parents (90% of whom are men) do not pay maintenance? Let's face it, if they're prepared to financially abuse their children, they're not fit people to be in charge of them and it's a bloody good thing they're not.

Women are more likely to get care and control of children on divorce because they have been the primary carers of children, they are the ones who have downshifted their careers and taken part time work. When men do that, they will be more likely to get care and control. Stop whingeing and do it instead of moaning that women actually have a few legal rights nowadays.

Gah.

BIWI Fri 23-Nov-12 17:46:52

I wasn't aware that men were banned from childcare confused. What a ridiculous thing to say!

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 14:20:15
bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 14:23:53

From the DM - 'Asked why she suddenly stopped claiming on the Wimbledon home in 2009 as the expenses scandal erupted, she replied: 'Because I think there was a lot of concern about the rules and, er, a lot of concern about, you know, the whole issue, and it’s something I felt that I didn’t want to be, sort of, mixed up in, the fact that I...I just made that decision.'

Arf!

Meglet Thu 13-Dec-12 15:06:22

She said she'd love to come back again, maybe we should get her back on to discuss crockery. She obviously knows a fair bit about it.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 15:15:21

£90K claimed for this second home that her parents lived in. £90K of public money, subsidising her parents. angry

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