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Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on Mumsnet for a webchat

1127 replies

JustineMumsnet · 03/05/2010 13:53

Do post your advance questions here.

OP posts:
NotYetAMum1 · 03/05/2010 16:41

Hello Mr Brown.

We have been unable to afford a house for a number of years.

The reasons for rising prices are always shrouded in mist in the political/media debate.

What would you say to the following accusations?

In his 1997 budget, Brown abolished dividend tax credits on pension funds. Companies saw the writing on the wall and immediately ended their final salary pension schemes to new employees shortly after the 'Brown raid'. They also started to cut down on the number of people with long final salary pension service and worked towards ending a scheme which would no longer be viable.

  • The CBI opposed Browns Tax credit cuts. Even the treasury and No.10 opposed them. [But Mr Brown made the cuts anyway.]

    2.] By abolishing the pensions tax credit, the yield for institutional funds across the entire market fell by 20 per cent. Few people outside the City understood the change and hardly any MPs protested. But Whitehall papers produced under the Freedom of Information act showed that Mr Brown was warned by his officials and by the Treasury that there would be dire consequences.
    They warned it would wipe £50bn off the value of funds, and that shares could drop by up to 20 per cent and public sector pensions would need topping up.
  • The value of pension funds have since lost around £5bn per year since the 1997 tax relief cuts. Pension funds holding the cash that almost everyone in the country had planned to use for our retirement have lost around £100 billion over the last 12 years.

    3.] The advice Mr Brown was given by this Treasury Paper, in 1997 was as follows:

    'The changes in incentives are likely to lead to substantial changes in portfolios. Pension funds will find equity relatively less attractive, and will prefer other assets ? particularly interest bearing securities and foreign equity ? and may also be prompted to consider more direct property investment.'

    Those funds were then channelled into fuelling an unsustainable property bubble, BTL portfolios, which developed because of Labours complete lack of regulation of the Banks.This was followed by ever increasing toxic mortgage debt, and this was followed by the bank bailouts.

    This is just one example of Gordon Browns incompetent decision making which helped to create the cornerstone of the debt bubble.

    4.] In the ten years previous to Mr Browns Raid on pensions, From 1987 to 1997 the Average House Price rose from £40k to £55k.
    A 33.3% rise over ten years.
    From 1997 [post pension tax dividend cuts] to 2007, the Average House Price rose from £55k to £190k [Nationwide Building Society figures]
    A staggering 245% increase over the same period. [Ten years.]

    The UK debt bubble stopped inflating at the end of 2003.

    But then, Chancellor Brown removed housing costs from the inflation index (in December 2003, from RPI to CPI), despite Bank of England's opposition, to force the Bank to keep interest rates low. Too low.

    The UK should not be facing the debt we are facing, and The Labour Party are guilty of gross fiscal mismanagement and criminal negligence.

    Why should a younger generation pay for your debt?
    Whilst keeping your house prices artificially inflated?
    We are in effect paying for your houses, whilst being unable to afford our own.

    We have already been forced to waste tens of thousands in rent over the last nine to ten years.
    We are being forced into Debt Bondage.

    Many hundreds of thousnads of disenchanted people, completely priced out of the housing market for a decade are looking at the Lib Dems.

    The Tories, seem only interested in making the 'debt more affordable to pay,' as a pose to 'tackling the debt itself.'

    You said in 1997 'I will not let House Prices get out of control.'

    Tell the people about the debt transfer. Tell them how UNFAIR this is.
    Tell the Truth.

    Thankyou Very Much
flockwallpaper · 03/05/2010 16:42

We have once again close to 3 million unemployed. What is a labour government going to do to encourage small and medium sized businesses to grow and take on new staff?

NonnoMum · 03/05/2010 16:44

Mr Brown, I think you've had a pretty rough ride as PM - inheriting camera-friendly Mr Blair's leftovers (Iraq and Afganistan) and then the world economy nearly collapsed about us.

Are you REALLY the safest pair of hands on the economy? I'd like to think so, and appreciate all the recent work on assisting family budgets (VAT, CTF etc) and working on eradicating third world debt back in the day. But, selling off the gold worries me, as does our huge national debt.

I don't mind that you're not the smiliest man around - I need that in my pop stars not my MPs, but I would like a straightforward answer on this...

SweetnessAndShite · 03/05/2010 16:49

I want to know how the Labour party plans to help the self employed - at the moment the tax credit system is dreadful for the self employed. HMRC just don't seem to be able to cope if your income/work hours change from week to week. The same is true of Council tax benefit. Despite earning around £10K as a family last year our council tax claim was rejected in effect because my husband is self employed and earns varying amounts from week to week, month to month. We are basically living off the equity in our home and have been for 5 years - we have put £15K on our mortgage just through living expenses. We live a modest life and have a 2 bed semi and 2 young boys. We can't go on like this forever. Why not make it easier for the self employed to claim in lean times then sign off when the work slows down. Oh because perhaps you'd just prefer we didn't work at all and just claimed benefit...

And while we're on about jobs, what about the job centre. That computer system is dreadful - everyone I know prefers the old system where you just went in and browsed the boards for local jobs. It's so hard to filter down and is only any good if you know the exact job you are looking for. Perhaps more people would be off benefits if you sorted this out!

onadietcokebreak · 03/05/2010 16:53

I have already voted Lib Dem...If I didnt I would have been giving my vote to Conservatives by default. The labour candidate is not even running an active campaign here....We need electrol reform and the STV.

Question re private sector renting*

There needs to be reform to ensure that the level of private rent charges is more compartative to social housing.

The cost of a 2 bed house in this region is £137 per week (averageLHA figure its actually a little more) Social housing is in the region of £70 per week. Thats almost 100 % difference

We need to look at the private sector and ensure tenants have more security of tenure and cheaper they can put down roots and have a sense of community. The freedom to decorate, change a garden etc helps forge pride in your own home..but I could be given notice at any time if the landlord wants me to leave. However I am adquaetely housed and would never been able to get social housing unless i was made homeless and put in temp B and B.

confusedfirsttimemum · 03/05/2010 16:53

I would like to ask:

Every time you outline a proposal I find myself thinking, "you've had 13 years to do that". How would you answer that general response and apathy?

TheFoosa · 03/05/2010 16:55

I don't have a question, just to say I grew up during the Thatcher years, in a northern town and it was definately grim.

Good luck, another safe Tory seat here so bit pointless voting for Labour.

megcleary · 03/05/2010 16:57

Why did you Give Away the Gold reserves?

Alouiseg · 03/05/2010 16:59

Would you consider removing Stamp Duty from property purchases and replacing it with Capital Gains upon the sale of a property?

Why is there VAT on female sanitary products and not on razor blades?

Why are business rates so unfeasibly high? Our office is in a regeneration area yet we have been penalised through taxation for making the office habitable (air conditioning etc) the rates went up by 50% last year and all the offices in our area are having to appeal at great cost. We are not Marks and Spencers on the High Street we are in a "regeneration area".

We know that there are tough times ahead, what are your priorities if you are re-elected?

onebatmother · 03/05/2010 17:00

Hello Gordon

We'll be voting for you in my house - chin up, back straight, and good luck. You are at your very best when you speak as you, rather than as someone who is 'projecting authenticity'. And in policy terms, you've just got to face the tough questions head on and be honest - so many of us would appreciate even brutal honesty, when combined with your experience and judgement.

My question: What is the truth about child poverty? Why does it appear to have grown? Why are there more families on low incomes than '97 - is it because it is a comparative measure?

Sorry for the advice; utterly pathetic I know but it's really so hard not to weigh in, when we know that so much is at stake.

DuckInHell · 03/05/2010 17:03

Hi Gordon

My Husband was made redundant, picked himself up, dusted himself down and started his own business, what would a Labour Goverment do to help him and the thousands of others who are going it alone?.

Alouiseg · 03/05/2010 17:04

........Jumping on megcleary's point.

Why did you sell the Gold?

Straight answer please, we're tough old birds and we can take it.

AuntieMaggie · 03/05/2010 17:06

Hello Gordon

Another voter here keeping her fingers crossed as she remembers how difficult it was for my family under the last Tory goverment.

There is a lot of misconception about people on benefits and immigration (as a few threads on here have proved) fuelled by the media - what will you do to educate people?

RibenaBerry · 03/05/2010 17:11

Background: My MP is reported to earn £9,000 a month from posts in the construction industry. Hardly a neutral party in planning decisions. I would trust him as far as I could throw him.

If you are re-elected, what are you going to do about conflicts of interest?

onadietcokebreak · 03/05/2010 17:12

onebatmother have a look at the child poverty action group and joseph rowntree site. Some fantastic stuff on their.

Child poverty will never be truely eradiacated because of how it is measured- relative poverty.

octothechildherder · 03/05/2010 17:17

Do you pay those people who tell you you have to smile? Cutbacks - they need sacking first.

The next government is not going to be popular - so winning a popularity contest shouldn't be top of the agenda - policies should be top. Give up the crap smiling - its creepy.

I have 3 young boys, am a teacher and both myself and my husband run our own businesses - naturally the economy and public services are high on our agenda - what are you going to do for me? We work hard, get no benefits and pay alot of tax but are about to be hit very hard as far as I can tell.

I cant decide who to vote for to be honest... not long to go to make up my mind - any final words of wisdom?

octothechildherder · 03/05/2010 17:19

That sounds a bit selfish but is an important time and want to know who will help my family the most

onadietcokebreak · 03/05/2010 17:19

LOL...I do agree about the smiling..I also find it creepy..sorry gordon!

octothechildherder · 03/05/2010 17:19

And what am I going to do with my children at 7.15pm?? Gah!

gingercat12 · 03/05/2010 17:20

Hello Mr Brown,

We all knew you were a brave man.

Is there any chance of continuing the match funding scheme for universities?

Good luck for the election, and afterwards,

WynkenBlynkenandNod · 03/05/2010 17:22

I know the nature of your job means sometimes taking very difficult decisions in difficult circumstances and inevitably mistakes will be made. Looking back at your time as PM, what is your biggest regret and if you could go back to that time, what would you do differently on that particular issue?

Good luck for Thursday. I can't vote for you that means a seat for the Conservative party here, but having been of secondary school age in the 80's, I'm really worried about waking up with David Cameron as PM on Friday.

lambethlil · 03/05/2010 17:22

Fingers firmly crossed, ready here to get the vote out and very best of luck for you/ us on Thursday.


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CoreInstability · 03/05/2010 17:25

But most of us will still have some blood left in our alcohol stream by 7:15 tonight surely?


LilyBolero · 03/05/2010 17:26

Alouiseq - the problem with capital gains on the sale of a property is that if it is your only property (as would be the case for most of us), then you would be very likely to end up being unable to afford a similar property, as the buying price of the next property would have risen similarly.

So for example, our house which is a 4 bed semi has risen considerably in value since we bought 11 years ago. BUT if dh had to move for work and we had to pay capital gains on the rise in price but still had to pay full price for a new property in the new area we would not be able to afford a similarly sized house (which would be a nightmare with 4 kids).

I think capital gains on 2nd properties is absolutely correct.

Bucharest · 03/05/2010 17:32

I live in Italy for most of the year, but still work in the UK for enough months to pay taxes and full year's whack of NI, so feel entitled to comment....

I am proud to be British, am proud of the democracy we have, and proud of the Labour movement which I've supported since my mother called me to the tv to "celebrate" with her Mrs Thatcher in 1979. I've done the miner's strike picket lines in 1984, the Red Wedge in early 1986 and I got nearly as drunk as John O'Farrell in 1997.

I really really want to carry on being proud.

So I've already voted, and my fingers and toeses are crossed for Thursday.

Wishing you all the best, and whatever happens I think you did OK.

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