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

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

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

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

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

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


ilovemydogandmrobama Mon 26-Apr-10 16:39:33

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

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

Hi Yvette

Welcome to MN!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message withdrawn

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

Message withdrawn

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

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

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

Message withdrawn

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Hi Yvette

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another question with regard to DLA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi Yvette

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


A JCP employee

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

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

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

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

Flexi time has been eroded.

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

I could go on all night but wont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

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

Hello Yvette

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

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

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

What about me? is my question.

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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