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What's the single biggest thing the government could do to help parents?

(180 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Jun-07 14:00:09

Hello Mumsnetters,
Can I pick your brians for a moment please? Were you to get the chance to sit around a table with Gordon Brown and he was to ask you what government should be doing to help mums and families, what would you say?

MamaG Thu 14-Jun-07 14:00:56

hmm
Get tax credits and CSA sorted out
More nursery places

MarsLady Thu 14-Jun-07 14:02:14

Treat the multiples (twins etc) as separate children... tax credits, childbenefit, etc etc

TheBlonde Thu 14-Jun-07 14:03:05

Ditch the tax/child credits and give all parents a tax allowance for each child under 16

Make it possible for a SAHP to transfer their tax free allowance to the WOHP

MamaG Thu 14-Jun-07 14:03:07

marsy - do they treat them differently?

southeastastra Thu 14-Jun-07 14:03:26

build more affordable housing

expatinscotland Thu 14-Jun-07 14:03:52

Tax them less and stop discriminating against two-parent families.

lulumama Thu 14-Jun-07 14:04:12

affordable subsidised decent childcare

expatinscotland Thu 14-Jun-07 14:05:10

Affordable housing to RENT on assured tenancies - not to buy - and with tenancies ending upon the tenant(s) death, thus insuring the stock stays fairly level.

coppertop Thu 14-Jun-07 14:05:10

Stop closing down special schools and units. If anything, build more. Atm so-called "choice" in education doesn't seem to apply if your child has SN.

prufrock Thu 14-Jun-07 14:05:33

Echo theblonde.

MarsLady Thu 14-Jun-07 14:05:46

Sometimes they are classed as one child (when they are babies). But my addled brain can't quite remember what it was that totally incensed me when they were born I just remember feeling incensed! lol

edam Thu 14-Jun-07 14:08:40

Extend the right to ask for flexible working to all parents, not just those with children under five. AND strengthen it, don't just make it being able to ask the question, for heaven's sake.

Actually extending it to all employees might break down the resentment some non-parents feel towards parents (that old 'maternity leave is a holiday' attitude).

I know you asked for one thing, but also give the Inland Revenue the task of collecting and assessing maintenance, seeing as they are good at getting money out of people.

AND (I know, I'm going on, pick the one you like best) do something about housing. Build more council houses/social housing. Price of houses/fact that rental properties are generally only available as shorthold, six month tenancies makes life very hard for families.

And do something for SAHMs. If people wish to SAH, they shouldn't be penalised. Daft where govt. is happy to pay towards someone else caring for my child, but not support me to do it (have never been an SAHM so no axe to grind here).

AND sort out flipping tax credits - confusing mess that is bloody unfair to people who are reassessed and get money clawed back. Does not help poor families. He has to make it work in practice, not just in theory.

Debbiethemum Thu 14-Jun-07 14:09:03

Agree with what TheBlonde said, but could it be until they have left full time education. So we can afford to help them out a bit more at Uni etc.

ejt1764 Thu 14-Jun-07 14:10:06

echo lulumama ... with the addition of making it compulsory for all employers to offer the option of salary sacrifice (childcare vouchers) to pay for childcare. ... it makes my blood boil that dh's complany (small company, 15 employees, he's the only parent) offer childcare vouchers, whereas my employer - city council ffs - don't and have no intention of doing so!

TooTicky Thu 14-Jun-07 14:10:49

Ditch trust fund rubbish and replace with vouchers for children to do sports/music lessons.
Support mothers of preschoolers so they can afford to stay home and look after them - maybe research more feasible work-from-home opportunities..
Make public transport free for accompanied children nationwide.

ejt1764 Thu 14-Jun-07 14:11:17

also echo edam - especially in relation to sahm (and I've never been one either!)

edam Thu 14-Jun-07 14:11:19

Oh, and stop the demonising of children, with ASBOs and so on. Start listening to them and reacting to what they say. Talk to good youth workers. Provide places for teenagers to hang out (because that's all most of them want to do, hang out with their mates, not cause lots of trouble).

Debbiethemum Thu 14-Jun-07 14:12:30

Also flexible working for everyone, less chance of annoying your colleagues.
It is a bit pointless stopping this when your child is 5 as I have managed to sort out term-time only working because my children are or soon will be at school and my previous 4-day week was getting a bit pointless.

Housemum Thu 14-Jun-07 14:13:14

Simplify the tax credit system - should work like this:

Look at P60 and state last year's income
Get awarded tax credit based on that/
Next year, if your income has gone up, you will get less the following year.

Only adjustment possible - if you lose your job, or your income falls by more than 25%, submit P45/letter confirming salary reduction and you receive more until year end. If you are stupid enough to lie/forge it, no further payments until money claimed back.

Rather than current system of how much you earned last year/guess this year/ get a bonus or change jobs and you are overpaid/ following year it's adjusted/ then you don't get a bonus and it changes again....

Oh, and if both parents agree on the initial form, only send one letter to the household - what a waste of money sending two! If one partner was really being devious and trying to claim tax credit without the other partner knowing, they would be smart enough to tear up the other partner's letter anyway.

edam Thu 14-Jun-07 14:13:57

Another thing (really getting into my stride here), ditch the police DNA database. They are using it to collect the details of all children - buy putting on victims/witnesses/people questioned but not tried much less convicted. Samples are not deleted when the case is closed or dropped. There's a scary stat about how many children are on the police database (and now they are about to start swapping info with other countries, too). Children and teenagers have human rights too and are deserving of respect, not being treated like some sort of threat to society.

AngharadGoldenhand Thu 14-Jun-07 14:14:26

Make it compulsory/give incentives for companies to have, say, 25% of their employees working from home.

CuddlesomeCod Thu 14-Jun-07 14:14:59

WHY are oyu asking?
is your mate david wanting us as a focus gourp?

rebelmum1 Thu 14-Jun-07 14:15:31

Reduce tax

rebelmum1 Thu 14-Jun-07 14:16:44

stop putting a gun to our heads and taking our hard earned money and wasting it

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