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Live webchat with Vince Cable, Business Secretary, Wednesday 1 May, 1-2pm

(106 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 29-Apr-13 16:25:44

We will be welcoming Business Secretary Vince Cable for a webchat this Wednesday lunchtime, following his aborted webchat last Jan (due to urgent business in the House).

A bit of background: The Rt Hon Vince Cable completed his undergraduate degree at Cambridge and post-graduate doctorate at Glasgow, where he then went on to work in a range of senior economic and foreign policy roles, becoming Shell International's Chief Economist in 1995. He became Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham in 1997 and served in the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet from 1999-2003, and as Shadow Chancellor from 2003-2010. In May 2010 he was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Minister is looking forward to questions on all topics and especially any on starting a new business, mentoring schemes, reforms for flexible parental leave, and the Government's work on increasing women's representation in UK boardrooms.

We hope you can join us and, as always, do post advance questions here if you're not able to make it on Wednesday.

Evilwater Tue 30-Apr-13 22:21:16

Dear mr cable,
I'm a band 2 healthcare assistant, I'm currently on maternity leave and trying to make the figures for me to go back to work, to be in the black.

The problem I'm facing is childcare, due me working shift patterns the cost of child care is terrible. If I went back to full time working the cost of childcare would be around £850 per month. So I'm £25 in the red to start with.

I am aware of tax credits, and the option of me to go part time, however I am always 20% short. I love my job, and I want to work but I can't feed my child and me on air.

What should I do?

MotherSouperior Tue 30-Apr-13 23:38:36

Dear Mr Cable,

Thank you for coming on to MN. May I ask why the government doesn't just make childcare tax-deductible? I can't work without it.

Thank you.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 01-May-13 00:23:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

landofsoapandglory Wed 01-May-13 07:43:35

What do you think of the reforms to DLA? It is well documented that the fraud rate is under 1%, so why are the Government making changes that will see around 20% lose their benefit? This will force people out of work, and cause people real hardship by leaving them without transport and care. Lots of people are living in fear over this at the moment.

The Governement should be ashamed of themselves.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 01-May-13 07:55:08

What is the Government doing to tackle the problem of under-employment, especially the rapidly increasing use of zero hour contracts?

purits Wed 01-May-13 09:08:32

My DS is leaving school this summer. The way the world is now, he can only get a decent job if he has a degree so he is forced to go to University i.e. he has to pay out £27,000 to 'buy' himself a job. How bad do you feel about the Lib Dems going back on their promise not to increase tuition fees?
PS don't give me the line that if he is not earning then he doesn't have to pay back. A debt is a debt however you dress it up. My DS is going to start life with a millstone round his neck and a marginal rate of tax of 41%. It stinks.

Crumblemum Wed 01-May-13 09:21:46

Hi Vince, assuming you're a certain age..... have you given back your winter fuel payment? Will you? Are you looking forward to a free tv licence or do you think should be means tested?

Govt. seemed to think it was right to take child benefit (a universal benefit) away from wealthier families, but doesn't seem to think the same about benefits to wealthier pensioners - I just wondered if you could explain this anomaly?

payphone Wed 01-May-13 10:34:35

Hello Mr Cable

What do you think of Ed Miliband? Could you do business with him, given that a Labour/LibDem coalition is a fairly likely outcome at the next General Election?

pickledginger Wed 01-May-13 10:38:23

How are the government planning to implement the recommendations in Lord Davies' report? Do you feel they for far enough?

On a personal note, how do you feel about your role as Business Secretary? Do you find it difficult to sit back and watch someone much less qualified attempt to manage the economy?

AlanMoore Wed 01-May-13 10:38:43

I'm going to be cheeky and ask two questions and make one plea...

1. Dr Cable, please can you stop big companies e.g. supermarkets, from employing people on zero hours contracts?

2. It is this kind of unfairness I expected the Lib Dems to tackle - have you been dismayed by how weak the LD influence is in the coalition?

3. Please cross the floor! You could save us smile A proper coalition with you as Chancellor would be ace. I still believe in you, but not the LDs as a party.

eggsandham Wed 01-May-13 10:48:25

Hi Vince. What do you make of all this fighting between the Tories and UKIP this week then? Who's right - Ken Clarke who called them "clowns", or Boris who called Nigel Farage "a rather engaging geezer"?

JeanBillie Wed 01-May-13 10:52:52

Now that you've had some time to reflect on the tuition fees fiasco, do you think your party will ever be able to regain all the trust lost?

Lilymaid Wed 01-May-13 10:55:50

Hello Vince
My son is currently an ODI fellow (as you were ... a few years ago!). Did that experience teach you things that you might not have learnt if your entire career had been in the UK or other highly developed country.
And as a supplementary - what do you think of the MoD's attempts to take part of the DFID budget for provision of "peace-keeping" activities?

BigEmma Wed 01-May-13 11:02:38

Hi Vince,
It seems to me that the Tory party is moving to the right because of their fear of UKIP. Do you agree?

budgens Wed 01-May-13 11:04:19

Thanks for coming to MN.
Some good questions so far, yy especially to the ones about both women and men working flexibly.
I saw a totally scary stat in the newspaper recently (Saturday Telegraph?) which said that recently there has been a 40% drop in the number of part-time university students. This seems gigantic to me. I expect that women are being clobbered harder here as I suspect that they are more likely than men to want to study part-time due to needing to look after their DC? At least, there's thread after thread on MN about people (teachers mostly incidentally!- but that's another thread) trying to decide what to re-train as and trying to get their confidence back to re-enter the workplace after having kids. Also women are more likely than men to be losing their jobs at the moment in the recession/ public sector cutbacks, so we really need to be going to university or college to get new skills so we have a hope in hell of getting a job.
Did you know about this drop and what are you doing about it?

UnsureOfOutcome Wed 01-May-13 11:19:00

Hi Vince, thanks for coming on to talk.

My question: given the endless stream of stories we're seeing on the extent of the deficit/how cash-strapped we are, is it still feasible/reasonable to ring-fence the NHS, schools, pensioner benefits et al? Shouldn't we be looking at making savings in all areas, so that the burden doesn't fall disproportionately on sectors you've deemed cuttable? And is there any way you can meet the targets you've set yourselves WITHOUT removing the ring-fences?

AND ... if the ring-fences were to be lifted, where would you personally look first to make cuts?

LauraPerrins Wed 01-May-13 12:35:14

Dear Mr Cable,

I put the same question to you as I did to the Deputy Primeminister a month ago. Why is the Coalition discriminating against mothers who choose to look after their children themselves. Why does a single-income family on £36,000 pay £9,000 in tax compared to a double-income family who pays £6,500. Why does the tax system ignore caring duties? Do you are about the carers?
Laura Perrins

amazingmummy Wed 01-May-13 12:51:22

Hi Vince,
May I suggest your department reconsiders its HR rules regarding fixed term employees. I lost my job after a year at BIS because the department did not want to give me full employment rights despite the need for my skills and knowledge.

VinceCable Wed 01-May-13 12:51:33

Testing testing

alfie2blue Wed 01-May-13 12:55:17

I am one of those 'stay at home mothers' the government seems to dislike so much. Do you think the government has been wise in their choice of language, talking about people who 'want to get on', with the implication that we have taken some easier option? You have turned off many of us stay at home mothers who feel they are doing the right thing for their families and have already suffered financially in giving up a salary to do so. I for one won't be voting for either of you at the next election.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 01-May-13 12:55:26

Can I also ask what you hope to gain from doing a Mumsnet webchat? Without meaning to be at all rude - your time is precious, so what are you doing here?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 01-May-13 13:02:47

Vince is in the building and will be off shortly.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 01-May-13 13:03:41

marking my place

VinceCable Wed 01-May-13 13:04:17


This is my second outing on Mumsnet, although I've also done Gransnet - my age group - and I look forward to hearing your questions.


NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 01-May-13 13:05:07

How high is too higher price to pay for trying to change the culture of Afghanistan?

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