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Webchat with Mhairi Black MP, Tuesday 12 January 11am-12pm

(155 Posts)

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BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Jan-16 17:36:15

Hello

We’re pleased to announce that the SNP’s Mhairi Black MP will be joining us at MNHQ on Tuesday 12th January between 11am and 12 midday. She’d particularly like to talk about the ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ campaign - see below for more details on that.

Mhairi Black is SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and is the current ‘Baby of the House’ - the youngest member of the House of Commons. After joining the SNP in 2011 Mhairi was elected at the age of 20 in the 2015 General Election, whilst completing her undergraduate degree in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. Her maiden speech made headlines, partly for the rule-breaking applause which followed it.

In support of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, Mhairi secured a debate in the House of Commons on state pension age increases that some say discriminate against women born on or after 6th April 1951, calling the situation “grossly unfair”. The campaign is calling for the reversal of the decision to delay the retirement age for women born in 1953-1954 - you can read more about this here.

Please do join us on the day or leave a question here in advance - and as ever, please remember our Webchat Guidelines: one question per poster, and please do be polite.

Thanks
MNHQ

flossietoot Sun 10-Jan-16 15:57:09

Mother username- that isn't true. In the area of Scotland I work in, significant amounts of money have been set aside and administered by the elected members, specifically to combat the impact of welfare reform and alleviate poverty. I have applied for funding successfully to it several times in the last year. Scotland has a diverse range of needs depending on area and I think the flexibility shown dependant on council area is much better than a blanket Scottish wide policy.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 16:17:51

What's not true?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26140475

If there was a budget underspend then the money could have been allocated to groups running foodbanks to ensure that it was meeting the needs of the poor rather than sitting in a bank.

flossietoot Sun 10-Jan-16 16:27:20

There is an underspend, however that is not the fault of the SNP! The local councils have pots of money, but they can only give it out if groups apply for it!! I work for a charity and know a fair bit about this- the council area I am in are very open about what is available.

PalmerViolet Sun 10-Jan-16 17:09:30

Thanks for coming Mhairi, sorry you've got and will continue to get such a hard time.

I don't have a question, but I'd like to congratulate you both on your maiden speech and on the way you're using your profile to raise such important issues in Parliament.

Hopefully, your example will encourage other younger people into politics and stop the country being sold down the river by the stale, male and pale examples we presently have.

trixymalixy Sun 10-Jan-16 17:32:52

Why are the Scottish government starving the councils of cash by not allowing council tax rises? I'd happily pay more tax to stop the cuts to vital services.

The latest is that east Renfrewshire council have stopped all breakfast clubs, with Glasgow City consulting on also cancelling theirs. This makes life extremely difficult for working parents, either they can't get to work on time or if private providers step, in paying 5 times what they used to pay for council run services.

Meanwhile disadvantaged kids who used to get a free breakfast and a free lunch now only get a free lunch while kids whose parents can well afford to pay for their lunch are getting it for free.

When are the Scottish government going to introduce some policies that are actually progressive and edistribute wealth like they claim to do? I judge on actions not rhetoric and at the moment the actions are most definitely not matching up with the words.

trixymalixy Sun 10-Jan-16 17:33:37

*redistribute

backwardpossom Sun 10-Jan-16 17:36:24

Mhairi, first let me say I am an SNP supporter and I greatly admire you as a young politician. I live in an area which has been hit hard by cuts to local government funding. These cuts have seen many of our local services closing (libraries, council-run sports facilities, music lessons in schools, public toilets, schools merging etc) and there are more cuts still on the cards. I am a teacher - head of department - and my budget has been squeezed yet again, to the point where I am telling my staff they cannot photocopy anything without checking with me first. We cannot continue like this.

In light of this, can you explain why the SNP continue with the council tax freeze? The cynic in me feels it is purely a vote-winning policy and raising council tax so close to an election in Scotland would not do the party much good. However I have yet to meet anyone in my area who disagrees with me when I say I'd rather pay more in council tax and keep our services.

Sorry this is not a question about WASPI - keep fighting the good fight.

backwardpossom Sun 10-Jan-16 17:37:18

Cross post with trixy, sorry! Opposite ends of the country though!

trixymalixy Sun 10-Jan-16 18:08:07

I'm afraid you are probably spot on possum, everything the snp/Scot gov do is with one eye on winning votes for independence rather than what's best for the country.

I was extremely disappointed that they didn't use their powers to raise income tax.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 18:32:04

Yes, I raised the council tax too - the sad fact is that the only policies pursued are those they perceive to be vote winners and the only thing they want is independence whether that is the right thing or not for Scotland.

Everything else is simply lip service - they have been in power for years in both councils and government in Scotland and yet continue to blame Westminster at every opportunity - though I am no fan of them either.

I'm another who would pay more council tax or a percent or two more income tax to protect services. I'd happily pay for prescriptions and eye tests too - money is being spent in the wrong places.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 10-Jan-16 18:40:17

Mhairi - a brief reading of the SEPA website gives the impression that their main focus is water quality in Scotland's rivers, lochs etc, with very little emphasis on flood prevention measures.

Given the devastation caused by the recent floods, would it not be better for SEPA to focus more of its attention on keeping water out of people's homes? I suspect that people would rather have slightly dirtier water that stays in the rivers and lochs etc where it belongs, rather than higher quality water that is in their houses.

flossietoot Sun 10-Jan-16 18:41:24

The number of people in in inwork poverty is increasing. How exactly would raising council tax or income tax alleviate this???

howabout Sun 10-Jan-16 18:52:45

As I understand it tax varying powers from Smith are not fully negotiated and in place yet. I think the SNP are right to wait on this and raise higher rate rather than all rates.

Pleased to see a complete rethink on the structure of the council tax is likely to be in the SNP manifesto.

Heartened that plans to integrate health and social care better are being progressed. I do not wish to see a return to prescription charges for the very few which cost as much to administer as they raised.

I am not a natural SNP supporter but think they are doing a better job than the alternatives and think it is disingenuous to accuse them of not having a progressive agenda given current policy constraints.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 18:53:40

The number of people in in inwork poverty is increasing. How exactly would raising council tax or income tax alleviate this???

It's a whole economy, there are always going to be winners and losers but the aim I should think is to protect those most vulnerable firstly and then put in protection for the next level to try to redistribute wealth whilst still allowing business to flourish in order to provide employment. They could apply an increase to the higher bands of council tax only for example. I'm not sure on what flexibility they have with the income tax but I wouldn't have thought it would be too difficult to target higher earners.

I would think ensuring that children living in poverty get a decent breakfast is towards the top of the pile. Maintaining services for families dealing with disabilities is another. And I come back to the point that there was millions sitting an an account earmarked to help alleviate poverty that was not properly distributed.

or was that question directed to Mhairi?

Roseformeplease Sun 10-Jan-16 18:59:19

The SNP pledge to keep teacher numbers is something I would like to know about. As a teacher in Scotland, this seems to be an overall number but it is constantly fudged to mean cuts in numbers in actual schools. I am not sure how this is done. With a rising school roll, my department has gone from 1.6 teachers to just me. This is because of the council tax freeze. How is this beneficial to pupils? How does this work given Sturgeon's (apparent) commitment to education?

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 19:10:52

and because they have to keep teacher numbers, support staff are the ones to be hit so pupils who need extra support won't always get it.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 19:17:37

According to my council website, there are 40,000 council tax payers - even if we all paid only an extra £1 a year that's £40k that could save a service or a couple of part time support staff in a school. If we all paid an extra £1 a month that's nearly half a million pounds extra revenue with no more admin to collect. There are not many people who an extra pound a month would hit hard.

If you could charge the top 50% an extra pound a week you'd have over a million pound extra revenue. The increases needn't be huge to make a difference.

redbinneo Sun 10-Jan-16 19:53:11

The SNP refuse to allow local authorities to raise Council Tax.
They are directly responsible for cuts in service. Don't believe the soft left wing approach that they peddle, they are Tories in disguise.

prettybird Sun 10-Jan-16 21:12:49

I thought that research last year had shown that the councils had been more than compensated by the Scottish Government for the council tax freeze?

One article here: "Scottish Council Tax freeze not under-funded"

prettybird Sun 10-Jan-16 21:14:00

http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2015/09/scottish-council-tax-freeze-“not-underfunded” Trying link again (using the app and the normal way doesn't seem to work hmm)

prettybird Sun 10-Jan-16 21:15:30

Bugger - will need to wait until I'm on a PC hmm

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 21:33:50

Very interesting but seems to be saying that it takes into account the disastrous creation of centralised police and emergency services so that they are not very much under the funding they would have had - the fact remains that that the freeze has reduced vital public services completely unnecessarily (including the centralised services). Or is it that the SNP councils have not had to reduce services and other controlled councils have been pissing their spare cash up the wall? A cap on increases may have been a better policy than a complete ban on increases.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 10-Jan-16 21:34:17

link works fine btw. smile

bletheringboys Sun 10-Jan-16 22:13:16

Mhairi!

How's yersel, hen?

Pensions eh?

I'm a young (ish) mother of three kids, been working in various jobs since I was 13 years old. This will not be reflected in any pension since I have worked in 'menial' jobs, despite having earned my degree, a good degree, 8 years ago. Three years ago I started working part time in the public sector and have struggled ridiculously to advance due to budget cuts by my local council (and I hate to say this, but an SNP council).
Since being on maternity leave for the last 6 months I have attended no less than 4 interviews for a full time position in my current job, but have been turned down because basically, jobs are so few and far between in the public sector that getting a job at all is very difficult, let alone one in which someone can advance, hence colleagues who have been around and waiting a lot longer than I have in a part time position, have been given these jobs. A lot also have not. The thing which strikes me, is that a lot of people I work with work part time. They also happen to be women, who have families at home. A lot of them are women who have also been working in menial jobs, been educated, have had children and are now - not through choice might I add - working part time and waiting for full time positions. Some of these women are in their 50s and have been waiting for a full time opportunity for 16 years or more! It makes me feel bad for feeling frustrated after just 3 years - surely I can't hang around that long!

My question, I suppose is: How do you make pensions equal for women who have basically had their opportunities cut short by having children? We work as teenagers, go to uni, get a degree, have kids, have a part time job and wait for the day that the degree becomes useful?

I myself have had to opt out of the pension scheme because honestly, at the end of the day, £50 at the end of the month is a lifesaver. That's our family of 5's meal budget for the week. I have no pension savings and it terrifies me. Or actually, maybe not as much as knowing that I'll probably be working until I die with the rate that working age is going up!

Cheers Mhairi. I just want to say, you are an inspiration. Thank you so much for doing what you do, for women and for us good Scottish folk.

Shakey15000 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:16:45

I have no question but wanted to say that I bloody loved your maiden speech. You come across very well <applauds>

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