MNHQ calling: we want to know what would be on your policy wishlist

(207 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-May-14 09:47:00

Over the years, when MNers have got stuck into issues they particularly care about, we've often seen agreement (or something approaching agreement grin) around particular policy ideas.

As the May 2015 general election approaches (ish), we’d like to find out what you think about what the next government should do - parenting-related or otherwise. Which commitments would you like to see in the parties’ manifestos? What would make you consider switching your vote (or voting at all, if you don’t currently intend to)? Which issues do you think deserve to be top priority for incoming ministers?

We’ve collectively campaigned on or added our support to others' campaigns around a number of issues, such as:

affordable, available childcare;
better provision of education, health and social services for children with additional needs;
better miscarriage care;
more and better sex and relationships education in schools;
the availability and variety of contraception;
getting sales reps off maternity wards;
flexible working; and
tackling FGM.

Other issues that seem to crop up regularly are bringing down the cost of some school uniforms; and more and/or better-paid parental leave, including paternity leave and bereavement/adjustment leave.

Are there other things Mumsnetters collectively agree on? Are those on the above list still as important to you as they have been? We’d thought we'd throw out this entirely unscientific starter for 10 with a view to informing a more nuanced analysis of each issue and a fuller survey of Mumsnet users in time for, no doubt, the string of ministers and ministerial hopefuls headed our way come early next year when the election campaign gets into full swing.

So please do let us know what you think.

Thanks
MNHQ

Madrigals Tue 20-May-14 09:58:56

The two things that I've seen discussed on here recently that I would like to see tackled are incorrect eating advice from schools and inappropriate handling of absences.

Ill informed policing of lunch boxes eg dc told cheese is unhealthy and quiche being banned, along with pressure to have only low fat yoghurt in lunch boxes. All guidance should be based on sound nutritional principles eg fine to say no crisps but not fine to eg ban dried fruit entirely as too high in sugar.

Refusal of authorised absence from school as request 'not exceptional' where surely compassion should dictate it be allowed eg on here people have spoken about dc not being allowed authorised absence to attend their uncle's funeral.

Also someone with a terminally ill child wrote about being harassed for evidence of each and every medical appointment and a mother of a child with mumps was pressured for extra evidence of the required time off. Despite in both cases medical evidence having been provided.

Schools and parents need to be in partnership and of course dc should not be kept off school inappropriately and not should lunch boxes be full of rubbish, but inappropriate heavy handed behaviour will not strengthen school/family relationships.

JuliaScurr Tue 20-May-14 09:59:52

Effective action on male violence against women, including prostitution

OneInEight Tue 20-May-14 10:13:25

Lack of state provision for academically able children with high functioning autism.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 20-May-14 10:23:34

It is hard to argue with things like reducing child poverty, better support for domestic violence victims & cheaper childcare etc.

I would like more done to help women become more visible in the working (outside the home) world. To me we will only achieve equality when there are more women in powerful positions.

This issues we all care about might be given more attention if there were more women around the table discussing them.

In Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In she talks about it was only once she herself was pregnant and had to dash across the carpark to a meeting heavily pregnant that she and the board thought about 'pregnant parking spaces'. Sometimes you need a female perspective to help consider the female perspective.

So in terms of Government - quotas on boards, encouraging more women to be MPs etc.

I don't want my DD to be replying to a similar thread in 35 years time saying the same things.....

Thanks MN for asking.

nomorequotes Tue 20-May-14 10:34:53

- Tax breaks for couples and home schoolers (they save us a fortune)
- profit-based tax increases that attack multinationals but prevent small businesses from struggling
- End to Fracking, plans to make every home in the UK capable of producing small amounts of electricity. Focus on improving renewable energies and sources
- Referendum on the EU with plans to become independent such as Iceland/Norway/Sweden.
- child related benefits to be stopped after third child to come into effect 9 months from budget
- more subsidised nurseries
-wrap around care directives for schools.

I would like to see resources for mental health services increased so that they are proportionate to their prevalence.

Currently mental health services are funded proportionately less than resources for physical health conditions, and are being cut harder. Proven schemes to help people with mental illness manage and improve are going, so more people end up in crisis - which is a lot more expensive and there are too few places.

crazykat Tue 20-May-14 10:58:30

I don't think its fair to stop child related benefits at a certain number if children as it won't stop a small minority having more kids they can't afford. It will put more children into poverty through no fault of their own.

More affordable/flexible child care is needed. Even in the north child care is about £20 per session (£40 per day) which is more than many in my area are able to earn once tax and NI are taken out. A proportion of this would be paid by tax credits but that kind of defeats the point in working to get off benefits.

I'd like to see they money used to bail out the banks being repaid back into the public purse now that the banks are making huge profits again.

More funding for the NHS to pay for more frontline staff to reduce prudery on existing staff and waiting lists for treatment.

Better provision for special needs so that children who need extra help get diagnosed sooner and get help sooner.

Blondieminx Tue 20-May-14 11:01:43

Stopping the privatisation of our NHS

More sensible taxation of overseas nationals and their assets; and much higher taxes on 2nd homes

Better funding & co-operation between the NHS, local councils and social services

Flexible working for all parents (and campaigns to "normalise" Dads taking a more active role in childcare

Quotas for women, particularly in the houses of parliament and companies - set at 35% minimum and with tax breaks for companies which achieve 50%!

Better support for pupils and students and investment in schools

Ensuring GP/nurse practitioner access at evenings and weekends and that it's free to get notes to provide to schools/employers

Making railway operating companies responsible for the track their trains run on (the chaos caused by Network Rail is wholly avoidable)

Breakfast and after school clubs at all schools (run by private providers / CIC's if necessary)

Radically restructuring Workfare to include practical skills training, working on projects to benefit their community e.g road resurfacing, painting etc and for the hours done to equate to minimum wage. Removal of subsidy for employers offering only unskilled work (e.g. Shelf stacking) on the scheme.

I'm sure I will think of some more! grin

FiveExclamations Tue 20-May-14 11:14:11

I don't disagree with anything on your list but stuff especially close to my heart from your list:

More and better sex and relationship education in schools, especially age appropriate teaching around issues of consent which can start as simply as "You want to hug your friend but they don't want a hug, what should you do?" and "You're having fun chasing one of your friends, but they've started to look unhappy..." (You can tell I work in a school playground). I think understanding consent in play is the gateway to understanding consent in other things. Anyway, I was regularly groped and harassed through High School and beyond, I'm not getting the impression that things have got much better so there needs to be improvement.

The DoE website states that schools should not use exclusive suppliers for uniform and that uniform should not be a financial burden on parents. I would like more pressure brought on schools on this matter, they can make it part of the OFSTED inspection.

A bit more focus on children as individuals rather than part of an amorphous mass that may or may not reach government targets would be nice.

Bit of a "Five Exclamations' Wish List" thing but, a conscious effort to include historically notable women in history/topic at primary school, I'm bored with saying "tell that to Grace O'Mally (sp?), Mary Reed, Anne Boney et al" every time a little boy says "Girls can't be pirates" or whatever else they believe women have never done.

Bingbongbinglybunglyboo Tue 20-May-14 11:14:21

Tackling the inconsistencies in the justice system regarding rape /sexual assault cases. Inconsistencies including less cases being bought to court, less convictions and sentencing inconsistencies.

Tackling sexism, on all levels.

FiveExclamations Tue 20-May-14 11:17:45

Oh yes! As someone else just said, access to all GP services out of hours, they don't have to have a Phlebotomist available every night but once a week might make working folks lives easier.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 20-May-14 11:35:57

school absences: clarity re exceptional circumstances as mentioed above. Our council think that all medical appointments should be done outof school, though how they think the waiting lists are going to be affencted with all parents wanting holiday appointments for the very busy childrens clinics I don't know.

it would be nice if the school/LEAs actually followed the SENcode of practice as well as improvements in their services. when I trained we had minimal education in SEN. that should be a compulsary part of teacher training.

Lack of state provision for academically able children with high functioning autism. Agree with one in eight on this. and other dual and multiple exceptionality children.

school uniform is going to be an issue.

Roseformeplease Tue 20-May-14 11:46:33

More emphasis on building emotional resilience in schools and education in how to end / deal with a bad relationship.

Everything Madrigals said

Also:
- end the bedroom tax
- pursue those corporations not paying their taxes e.g. Vodafone and the Arcadia group
- bring back legal aid for employment tribunals
- bring back legal aid for family courts
- stop blaming the unemployed and disabled for the country's ills and recognise that high net worth tax avoiders are the real problem

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 20-May-14 15:18:29

Better early intervention for autism overall, and more choice eg for those who want to use ABA for their children's education

zzzzz Tue 20-May-14 15:19:16

APPROPRIATE state funded education for all (I am thinking particularly of anxious children with HFA but I am sure other disabled children are in the same situation)

Enough paediatricians/diagnostic centres to diagnose all disabled children in a timely manner.

Easier access to blue badges for children who are neurologically different.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 20-May-14 15:21:14

no more quotes Sweden is in the EU...

FrontForward Tue 20-May-14 15:58:00

Sort out the house buying chaos. So stressful and expensive to sell/buy houses in England

Divorce - review the options to try and make mediation more affordable and avoid the legal fights

Child maintenance. Stop disbanding the CSA because it's so expensive and ineffective. Make it effective and get child maintenance paid.

Do not privatise the NHS

Put maximum working hours into teachers contract

Handsoff7 Tue 20-May-14 16:07:25

Better sharing of parental leave would be a vote winner for me. Particularly if it allowed both parents to be off at the same time if wanted by a family. The current system effectively forces women into the primary carer role regardless of family circumstance.

I'd also like to see the burden of deficit reduction fall more evenly by extending it to pensioners who appear to have avoided all the cuts that have hit working age people. A start would be to scrap the winter fuel and free bus pass from higher rate tax payers. A bolder step would be to scrap national insurance and raise the basic rate if tax to compensate. This would ensure that pensioners (and the self employed) paid their full contribution.

noblegiraffe Tue 20-May-14 16:26:56

A pledge to stop pissing around with education, this endless tinkering is achieving nothing but increasing the workload of those who work in schools, causing uncertainty and stress for children and lining the pockets of companies like Pearson.

I would like to see the next education secretary only make changes which are evidence-based, meet the approval of experts, are properly researched and tested before widespread implementation. Unlike academies, free schools, Ofsted ratings, the new qualifications, the new primary curriculum and so on.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 20-May-14 16:30:01

Scrap the bedroom tax
Allow leas to open new schools
Stop aggressively policing school rules for parents (time off, packed lunches etc)
Provide more maternity beds
Stop privatising nhs and schools
More new build nuclear

redexpat Tue 20-May-14 17:11:45

More paternity leave.
More affordable childcare.

headlesslambrini Tue 20-May-14 17:27:17

Careers education which includes face to face guidance for ALL by appropriately qualified people and not a school lottery as to whether or not they have the money to buy it in.

Services for young people which includes impartial and independent advice.

Decent training and apprenticeship opportunities.

Incentives for employers to train up young people And to keep them employed afterwards.

Notmyidea Tue 20-May-14 18:01:10

Provide security for families in the private rental sector of the housing market.

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