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Vince Cable live webchat Tuesday 20 December 1.30-2.30pm

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GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 08-Dec-11 15:47:44

We're delighted that Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be coming into GNHQ to join us live for a webchat on Tuesday 20 December. A LibDem MP (for Twickenham) and an economist, Vince has been a leading commentator on the banks and their role in the economic crisis. He holds one of the key posts in the coalition. Ask your questions here.

grannyactivist Thu 08-Dec-11 16:44:37

I would like to ask Mr. Cable what he thinks the impact of the Con-Dem coalition will be at the next election? I ask this in view of the fact that my in-laws, who have been lifelong supporters and activists for the party, have cancelled their membership and say they were betrayed by the LibDems. Similarly my son, a third year university student, also voted for the LibDems and says that he will never vote for them again for the same reason.

Supernan Sat 10-Dec-11 18:33:06

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said that better-off elderly people should make a “sacrifice” to help the Government balance its books. This now appears not to be a voluntary sacrifice. He proposes to means test the elderly for their bus passes & heating allowance. What is Vince Cable's view on this subject. Is this a party policy? I live in his Twickenham constituency.

Mamie Sun 11-Dec-11 11:21:16

I should like to ask Vince Cable if he feels he has been successful in convincing fellow members of the government of the importance of business, trade and industry in the UK beyond the narrow confines of the City of London and the financial services industry? How does he view the current wave of anti-European sentiments coming from parts of the Conservative party and the media in terms of its long-term impact on Britain's economic development?

JessM Mon 12-Dec-11 08:01:00

I would like to ask Mr Cable what he is doing to help the growth of SMEs (small/medium enterprises) to grow and prosper. Most people in the private sector work for these businesses and unless some of them thrive and prosper there will be no future prosperity for the UK.

absentgrana Mon 12-Dec-11 11:21:50

I should like to know why universities come under the umbrella of business rather than education and, given the way the liberal arts and languages have been dismissed by this coalition, is there a plan to change the nature of further education simply to training for employment?

JessM Mon 12-Dec-11 14:49:11

Oh do they? In which case what, Mr C, are you going to do about the dismal state of the sciences? My husband suggested that science degrees should be subject to much lower fees. How about that for an incentive for bright students to follow that path?

crumblygranny Wed 14-Dec-11 10:52:27

I'd like to ask how you felt, personally, after being duped by the journalists posing as two young mums for the Telegraph sting? I have to admit feeling very sorry for you. Is that why you choose Gransnet not Mumsnet? (We're very pleased to have you though).

firenze Wed 14-Dec-11 15:37:49

Before the election, you were vocal about the irresponsibility of bankers...and this was very powerful, coming from someone who had worked in banking and had a sense of how things should be run to ensure stability.

How do you reconcile this with lack of action over bankers' bonuses and the government's outright hostility to regulation of the City, as seen at the recent Brussels summit?

flopsybunny Wed 14-Dec-11 15:39:23

Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that you would be in coalition with the Conservatives?

carer Wed 14-Dec-11 22:51:40

At the Lib Dem Conference this year a motion was successfully passed to oppose various aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill including opposing the Employment Support Allowance time limit. However it appears that very few Lib Dem MPs and Lords are taking action with regard to this issue. Why are they not abiding by the motion and what is the point of motions being passed at Conference if no one takes any notice?

NativityQueen Thu 15-Dec-11 12:42:54

Before the 2010 election, the LibDems peddled themselves as being the party of 'No more broken promises'. Nick Clegg on Broken Promises. "Broken Promises - there have been too many in the last few years".

What was the LibDem's biggest promise? "I pledge to vote against ANY rise in tution fees".

I have heard the argument "But we didn't win the election, and therefore couldn't enact all of our manifesto". Frankly that is a ridiculous argument. Because the pledge to VOTE AGAINST any rise in tuition fees would ONLY be valid in the event of the LibDems NOT winning the election outright. If the LibDems had won outright, they presumably would not have introduced a bill increasing tuition fees, and therefore there would be no opportunity to VOTE AGAINST such a rise. The only opportunity to vote against a rise in tuition fees would be if the LibDems were in opposition, or in coalition, not in government on their own.

Bearing that in mind, how can you possibly expect a voter to ever trust a word a Liberal Democrat says again? Your manifesto will not be worth the paper it is written on, because you have proven that you will say anything to win votes in the election, and your promises that you bought the votes with may be cast aside immediately. I (to my shame) voted Liberal Democrat because our candidate assured me that in our area, the only way to keep the Tories out was by voting Liberal Democrat. He reassured me they would not be enabling a Tory Government, because Nick Clegg 'would not be a kingmaker'. For the first time ever I am glad a Conservative won our area, because at least I know my vote has not gone towards electing this terrible Government, which in my view is undemocratic, on account of the positions the relative parties took prior to the election - Labour and LibDem both took a position of a slower, shallower cut to the deficit, and this position gathered over 15 million votes, compared to 10 million votes for the Conservative sharp, deep cuts proposal. Therefore I regard this coalition as entirely undemocratic.

So my question is - how can you possibly expect any voter to believe or trust a word you say ever again? Please don't answer with a 'spun party line' - I've heard them all, and would like an honest answer, not one that begins "we didn't win the election", or "working together in the national interest".

auldcodgers Fri 16-Dec-11 00:34:45

Closing businesses = LESS tax revenue for the government.

Less fuel being bought = LESS tax revenue for the government.

Less retail goods being bought = LESS tax revenue for the government.

More unemployment = MORE unemployment benefit being paid out by the government.

I am not an economist but I can add up and these 3 LESSES and 1 MORE =

BIG TROUBLE for the economy.

Restricting people's incomes by upping taxes is not answer. If you want people to spend and create growth for this country you must reduce taxation and thus give incentive for spending.

LESS taxation = More spending = More growth = Stronger economy.

Berengaria Fri 16-Dec-11 15:44:42

Could you please ask Mr Cable what is being done to help older people back into the workplace after they have been made redundant.

I have been out of work for three years, despite looking for a new position almost daily, with little success. I have always been hard working and find this period of my life unnecessarily stressful.

I thought the government wanted ordinary persons to spend more on the High Street thus helping small businesses, This is not possible for me, millions more and I do not have a time line for this to change for the better.

cabpjackson Sat 17-Dec-11 04:53:17

I worked and paid tax in the UK for 50 years, but when I emigrated to Vancouver Canada my pension which includes some serps (State Earnings related Pension Scheme) was frozen at 48 pounds a week because of the UK governments inconsistant arrangements with countries outside the EU. I should be getting 139 pounds a week now so I am missing out 91 pounds a week, and I am asking what your government is going to do to restore the pension I have earned, along with the pensions of more than half a million British Pensioners in more than 120 countries, and of people in UK who might be considering retiring abroad?

dotnet Sat 17-Dec-11 08:12:07

Personal debt - do the LibDems think it is a good thing?
Personal debt - do the LibDems think it is a good thing to inculcate a 'debt=good' mindset in eighteen and nineteen year olds looking for an education?

What do you think of the way Alex Salmond is looking after his Scottish students? And, finally, when is something going to be done to abolish the new serfdom of unpaid work in the form of 'internships' for our children leaving university?:

Annobel Sun 18-Dec-11 10:15:59

Vince, please could you, as an economist, explain the enormous influence that the ratings agencies have on the world's economic situation? Why should these private companies (is that what they are?) dictate interest rates to democratically elected governments?

Dropstitch Mon 19-Dec-11 10:51:14

Hi Vince, I voted Lib Dem at the last election and, whilst horrified that the Conservatives got in, was even more horrified that the Lib Dems chose to form a government with them and not the Labour party. I do believe that Labour needed some time to sort themselves out again but always felt that they were a more natural partner to the Lib Dems than the Conservatives.

What do you think a LibDem/Labour coalition could have achieved that a Conservative/LibDem coalition won't, ie on tuition fees?

effblinder Mon 19-Dec-11 11:41:11

Hi Vince,

Thanks very much for joining us. I wonder how you feel about the public attitude towards Nick Clegg and how far you feel it is justified. He has received a lot of flak (putting it mildly!) for his actions on issues like tuition fees, and the points he has disagreed with the Tory line on have slipped under the radar a lot more.

Do you think there is enough public and party support for Clegg to stand as Lib Dem leader at the next election, or do you think that he has irrevocably damaged his Lib Dem credentials now?

JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 19-Dec-11 12:27:38

Hello all,

Just to alert you to the amended time of 1.30-2.30pm tomorrow for our Vince Cable webchat.

We're very much looking forward to it - get your questions ready!

getmehrt Mon 19-Dec-11 16:17:45

A lot of people who seem very well-informed are predicting the Euro can't survive more than a couple of years. (This is not wishful thinking on my part!)

Do you think David Cameron's so-called veto has increased the likelihood of a collapse of the Euro by making Europe a little bit less stable and coherent?

distaffgran Mon 19-Dec-11 16:23:56

I would like to ask, what is your attitude to the Occupy movement and their slogan, "we are the 99%"?

Do you think they have something important to say? And do you think the fact that there has been a surge of people power movements in the developed world suggests that politicians and mainstream politics have failed to take on the big corporations and the banks?

politigeek Tue 20-Dec-11 08:19:16

Is 2019 soon enough to implement the proposals of the Vickers report into banking? Why the very long delay?

frangipane Tue 20-Dec-11 08:21:02

What will you be getting the woman in your life for Christmas? What are you hoping for yourself?

onthefence Tue 20-Dec-11 08:23:24

Many of us have been appalled by the coalition's decision to bring in tuition fees - and by the scale of them. How much is too much?

Cassandra Tue 20-Dec-11 08:25:32

Have you paid back your winter fuel allowance?

What do you make of the suggestions it should be means-tested?

vilebody Tue 20-Dec-11 08:28:28

Will you be pushing for the Dilnot report to be implemented?

Or - to put it another way - if you had an elderly parent or a spouse needing care, would you be facing the future confidently?

bigknitter Tue 20-Dec-11 08:30:08

Do you cook? And what is your favourite cake?

granIT Tue 20-Dec-11 08:37:11

What is the relationship between Dave and Nick really like? There was a time when we thought they'd be sending out joint Christmas cards featuring themselves under the mistletoe. Are they still as loved up?

HOTNANA Tue 20-Dec-11 09:27:07

I was struck by what one MP said yesterday about the delays in putting in place the Vickers reforms to banks - 'Does the Chancellor feel that when Jesus overthrew the money tables, he shd've taken 6 yrs before acting?'

Surely you agree 6 years is too long?

HOTNANA Tue 20-Dec-11 09:50:20

Why is government not going after big business after it's been revealed that tax avoidance costs the economy over £25bn a year? We keep hearing IDS banging on about the £1.4bn lost in benefit fraud, but it seems only UK UNCUT and the occupy movement is making any real noise about the day light robbery and moral decrepitude of the UK's biggest corporations. Does being open for business mean allowing us to get screwed? What do you think about the dinners and love in's between Goldman Sachs and senior HMRC officials? And why is Vodaphone not paying interest on their already vastly reduced tax bill? Its like theres one rule for hard working Briton's and another for corporations. If we're 'all in this together' and the coalition is really concerned with deficit reduction then this really needs to be addressed

greatgablegran Tue 20-Dec-11 09:58:23

Why does is Sir Fred Godwin still Sir Fred? If you are really serious about reforming the closed shop that runs Britain shouldn't you start by expelling some of its worst members?

Nick Clegg said yesterday that inequalities in wealth are greater than inequalities in income. Shouldn't people who sell their houses to fund elder care be excluded from paying a Mansion Tax?

I worry about how my grown up children are going to afford to have a family and lay foundations for the future. Am I right to be worried? How will Britain earn its living in future?

How many Tory MPs are you really sending Christmas cards to?

MrsMicawber Tue 20-Dec-11 10:50:43

I've popped over from Mumsnet.

Vince, do you think the NMW is a reasonable living wage, and if it was raised, don't you think benefits would still be a viable lifestyle choice?

This raise could be funded by ensuring that executive salaries were kept reasonable, with wealth spread around more evenly throughout organisations.

I would start with Council Executives and Social Workers having their pay evened out somewhat.

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 11:53:07

Nick Clegg has been talking about a 'mansion tax'. Where do you see the threshold being drawn? I'm concerned about this as we are living in an area with lunatic house prices. We moved here before the housing boom, and I am very concerned that we may be taxed on account of the house price rises - we can't afford to move, because of stamp duty, and our house is a very ordinary semi, but is valued at 500k, because of the area we live in.

We are stretched to the limit already, and are about to lose 10% of our income because of the child benefit cut (despite being on the 30th centile of the IFS chart of standard of living). We can't afford to pay any more taxes because our house has increased in value. So what value house do you see as being a 'mansion'?

agedliner Tue 20-Dec-11 11:57:51

Vince, am very interested to read your response re the Vickers reforms, but they've been covered by others.

So am asking about other important topics wink

Who did you want to win this year's Strictly final? And which politician would you like to see in the next Strictly?

Thank you and Happy Christmas smile

HOTNANA Tue 20-Dec-11 12:05:52

Whats your favourite Christmas song, and what will you be doing this Xmas?

mousie Tue 20-Dec-11 12:05:58

I presume as a member of the cabinet that you don't really suffer from ageism, but do you sometimes look around your colleagues in parliament and think that some highly competent people are passed over because of an obsession with youth?

clocktowergal Tue 20-Dec-11 12:08:12

I'd like to add to onthefences's question - given that pretty much everyone in power right now benefited from having free tertiary level education, how can they support following generations having to enter adult life in debt for receiving the same benefit they enjoyed for free?

Wouldn't it make sense to reduce the number of spurious non-degrees and instead spend public money educating future generations on courses that will actually make the UK a competitive nation on a global scale in the future. That way they should be able to afford to dismantle tuition fees. If, on the other hand, a student really wants to spend three years doing media studies that will never get them a job in the media, they're more than welcome to do that if they can pay for it themselves.

Foreveryoung Tue 20-Dec-11 12:11:44

How come you have a holier than thou image when you used to be one of the head honchos at Shell?

eggmayo Tue 20-Dec-11 12:47:14

Hi Vince,

lots of good questions have been asked!

But mine is:

What would the Tories have to do for you to resign?

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 12:57:15

Not really a question, just a further point on the university funding. There were 2 things you could have done that would have been much much fairer.

Either, make it a graduate contribution, similar to now, but instead of being an 'amount owing' make it a % of income over a fixed level, for a fixed number of years. That would really be progressive, and would avoid this situation of middle income people having to pay back more than the wealthy.

Or, make the loans interest free. So, a graduate can contribute more, but it doesn't grow and grow in the way it is going to - for some income groups they will be paying back far more than the 27k of fees borrowed, because of the interest. This would mean the wealthy paid back quicker, the poorer didn't pay so much, but you would avoid the trap of being a middle income worker who has to pay back 50k worth or so, because of the interest.

Neither of those things are rocket science, but would make the thing so much fairer than the proposed system. I also take massive issue with the fact that although it was peddled as 'contributions based on future income', students will receive bursaries because of their parents' income, irrespective of what they may end up earning, and so if you happen to come from a slightly better off family, you will be subsidising someone who may be earning far more than you are.

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 13:03:16

And one quick question on child benefit changes/welfare caps.

The proposed welfare cap is 26k. LibDems have been arguing that CB should be exempt. 26k is equivalent to a salary of about 35k. Put the CB on top, and with 4 children you are up to 38k. How can you say that someone receiving this much on benefits is 'low income', when someone on only a little bit more, but working, is deemed 'too wealthy' to receive child benefit? (and especially when the family next door on double the household income keeps it?). I am SO SO angry about this.

Child benefit should be a child tax allowance, in recognition that if you have children, your salary has to go much much further. Below a certain threshold, it could remain as a benefit, but above that, it should be an allowance, and you should stop this fallacy of claiming you are 'paying a benefit'. Just let us keep a little bit more of the money we earn to pay for our children.

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 13:04:23

(Just for clarification - with a cap of 26k on benefits, and 4 children, you are equivalent to receiving a salary of about £38k. £42k is the threshold for HRT, and the level at which you lose child benefit.)

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:06:38

GeraldineGransnet

We're delighted that Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be coming into GNHQ to join us live for a webchat on Tuesday 20 December. A LibDem MP (for Twickenham) and an economist, Vince has been a leading commentator on the banks and their role in the economic crisis. He holds one of the key posts in the coalition. Ask your questions here.

This is a test from Tech (not Vince).

Foreveryoung Tue 20-Dec-11 13:14:08

What do you think of Ed Miliband as a leader? Is he helping or hurting the coalition? Do you think David Miliband would have proved a more formidable leader of the opposition?

marcellamc Tue 20-Dec-11 13:22:17

In the current recession so much is made of young people who can't get work. But what about older people who lose their jobs and have no chance of finding anything again? Ageism is rife and experience seems to count for nothing. Pensions are up the spout - please give me a glimmer of hope to cling to before I stuff myself inside my Christmas turkey

grannyactivist Tue 20-Dec-11 13:24:09

Do you know that war widows whose husbands were killed after 2005 pay tax on their Survivor's Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP), whilst those widowed before that date do not?
Do you that think this is an equitable and reasonable way to recompense the families of service personnel killed on active service??

GrannyMurray Tue 20-Dec-11 13:24:19

Hi Vince,

What do you think about Cameron's veto of the financial treaty in Europe? There's been lots of discussion on gransnet about it - some saying he was grandstanding and others saying he had to do it.

Do you think he did the right thing or was he just trying to curry favour?

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 13:26:50

MNHQ, please can you ensure Mr Cable reads (and hopefully answers) the questions posted prior to the webchat.

popsiclegran Tue 20-Dec-11 13:29:07

Are you scandalised that HMRC did sweetheart deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs over their tax payments and that this only came to light through a whistleblower and Private Eye?

Is this right at a time of austerity? In what sense are we all in it together? And will HMRC be reformed so that this doesn't happen again?

JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Dec-11 13:31:41

Hi NativityQueen,

We at GNHQ will make sure Vince Cable takes a look at all the questions, although do remember that he may only have time to answer one question per user.

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Dec-11 13:35:02

We're absolutely delighted to have Vince Cable at GNHQ for a live webchat. We're ready to go, so keep sending your questions and he'll answer as many of them as he can.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:38:50

grannyactivist

I would like to ask Mr. Cable what he thinks the impact of the Con-Dem coalition will be at the next election? I ask this in view of the fact that my in-laws, who have been lifelong supporters and activists for the party, have cancelled their membership and say they were betrayed by the LibDems. Similarly my son, a third year university student, also voted for the LibDems and says that he will never vote for them again for the same reason.

The impact of the coalition in a 2015 election all depends heavily on how the public react to our handling of the profound economic crisis we have inherited.
As someone who was, and still is, left of centre and an opponent of Tories for 40 years I sometimes feel uncomfortable with the coalition too. But working with other parties in the national interest is only ‘betrayal’ in a very tribal view.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:39:41

distaffgran

I would like to ask, what is your attitude to the Occupy movement and their slogan, "we are the 99%"?

Do you think they have something important to say? And do you think the fact that there has been a surge of people power movements in the developed world suggests that politicians and mainstream politics have failed to take on the big corporations and the banks?

Yes I think the Occupy movement does have something to say. They don't have the answers but they are posing a real challenge to politicians about the big divide in income and wealth. I accept that we have to come up with answers on extreme and unjustified pay and I'm embarking on policy initiatives in the new year in this area.

Maniac Tue 20-Dec-11 13:40:09

Aside from banks and money millions what do you feel about the rights of over 1 million children who are currently denied contact with grandparents

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:40:58

JessM

I would like to ask Mr Cable what he is doing to help the growth of SMEs (small/medium enterprises) to grow and prosper. Most people in the private sector work for these businesses and unless some of them thrive and prosper there will be no future prosperity for the UK.

I agree. SMEs are the key to job growth. We are trying to help them by concentrating apprenticeships, export promotion activities and advice/mentoring services at the SME sector – particularly the 10,000 or so rapid growth medium sized companies. We are also making it easier for SMEs to get the access to finance they need for expansion.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:41:03

politigeek

Is 2019 soon enough to implement the proposals of the Vickers report into banking? Why the very long delay?

The aim is to finish the key policy reforms by the end of this parliament, ringfencing the banks and separating the casinos from high street and business banking. Four years is a long time, I accept, but the details are very complex. We will have done more than any other Western country, and we need to.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:41:49

frangipane

What will you be getting the woman in your life for Christmas? What are you hoping for yourself?

I promised Rachel a Kindle. We both devour books and travel a lot, so we'll see what this new technology has to offer.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:41:53

crumblygranny

I'd like to ask how you felt, personally, after being duped by the journalists posing as two young mums for the Telegraph sting? I have to admit feeling very sorry for you. Is that why you choose Gransnet not Mumsnet? (We're very pleased to have you though).

I felt sick as a parrot, to coin a phrase. Several Lib Dem ministers in the government were subject to undercover recording by journalists who falsely represented themselves as constituents in confidential advice surgeries. The behaviour of the Telegraph was (unusually) subject to serious criticism from the press complaints commission.
I chose Gransnet since I am a Granddad, with two grandsons, and married very happily to a Gran with five grandchildren of her own.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:42:46

Cassandra

Have you paid back your winter fuel allowance?

What do you make of the suggestions it should be means-tested?

I haven't given it back. But I do a lot for charities anyway.

People like me don't need it, but we have to be careful about rushing into more means testing. The system is already complicated enough.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:43:04

carer

At the Lib Dem Conference this year a motion was successfully passed to oppose various aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill including opposing the Employment Support Allowance time limit. However it appears that very few Lib Dem MPs and Lords are taking action with regard to this issue. Why are they not abiding by the motion and what is the point of motions being passed at Conference if no one takes any notice?

Of course we respect and listen to conference motions. But in government the disciplines are different from opposition. It isn’t just a question of taking up priorities but negotiating compromises within the coalition and then honouring agreed positions, even if they are unpalatable.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:43:55

bigknitter

Do you cook? And what is your favourite cake?

I'm a good assistant cook, chopping onions and taking instructions. I usually help with the Christmas cake.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:44:45

HOTNANA

Whats your favourite Christmas song, and what will you be doing this Xmas?

I've got a wonderful Pavarotti CD of seasonal but religious songs. Christmas will be with children and grandchildren and long walks.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:45:53

NativityQueen

Before the 2010 election, the LibDems peddled themselves as being the party of 'No more broken promises'. Nick Clegg on Broken Promises. "Broken Promises - there have been too many in the last few years".

What was the LibDem's biggest promise? "I pledge to vote against ANY rise in tution fees".

I have heard the argument "But we didn't win the election, and therefore couldn't enact all of our manifesto". Frankly that is a ridiculous argument. Because the pledge to VOTE AGAINST any rise in tuition fees would ONLY be valid in the event of the LibDems NOT winning the election outright. If the LibDems had won outright, they presumably would not have introduced a bill increasing tuition fees, and therefore there would be no opportunity to VOTE AGAINST such a rise. The only opportunity to vote against a rise in tuition fees would be if the LibDems were in opposition, or in coalition, not in government on their own.

Bearing that in mind, how can you possibly expect a voter to ever trust a word a Liberal Democrat says again? Your manifesto will not be worth the paper it is written on, because you have proven that you will say anything to win votes in the election, and your promises that you bought the votes with may be cast aside immediately. I (to my shame) voted Liberal Democrat because our candidate assured me that in our area, the only way to keep the Tories out was by voting Liberal Democrat. He reassured me they would not be enabling a Tory Government, because Nick Clegg 'would not be a kingmaker'. For the first time ever I am glad a Conservative won our area, because at least I know my vote has not gone towards electing this terrible Government, which in my view is undemocratic, on account of the positions the relative parties took prior to the election - Labour and LibDem both took a position of a slower, shallower cut to the deficit, and this position gathered over 15 million votes, compared to 10 million votes for the Conservative sharp, deep cuts proposal. Therefore I regard this coalition as entirely undemocratic.

So my question is - how can you possibly expect any voter to believe or trust a word you say ever again? Please don't answer with a 'spun party line' - I've heard them all, and would like an honest answer, not one that begins "we didn't win the election", or "working together in the national interest".

All three parties promised to oppose tuition fees in opposition but weren’t able to deliver in office. Lib Dems made a mistake, which we regret, of making a pledge in 2010 which collided with economic reality. We have instead introduced in office progressive reforms eliminating up front fees, improving access and scholarships for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and establishing a graduate payment related to ability to pay (in effect, a form of graduate tax).

eggmayo Tue 20-Dec-11 13:46:45

Vince. I am a big fan of yours, always have been, always will be. But when you say "As someone who was, and still is, left of centre and an opponent of Tories for 40 years I sometimes feel uncomfortable with the coalition too. But working with other parties in the national interest is only ‘betrayal’ in a very tribal view." I would honestly like to know where the point is when you break.

Student debt, the NHS, Europe - all of the principled positions you have held so dearly for 40 years slain in just 18 months of this coalition. When do you say "enough is enough"?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:47:02

clocktowergal

I'd like to add to onthefences's question - given that pretty much everyone in power right now benefited from having free tertiary level education, how can they support following generations having to enter adult life in debt for receiving the same benefit they enjoyed for free?

Wouldn't it make sense to reduce the number of spurious non-degrees and instead spend public money educating future generations on courses that will actually make the UK a competitive nation on a global scale in the future. That way they should be able to afford to dismantle tuition fees. If, on the other hand, a student really wants to spend three years doing media studies that will never get them a job in the media, they're more than welcome to do that if they can pay for it themselves.

I think we have to let students at universities decide what figures in degree courses - not let politicians prejudices rule. But we do need to build up engineering and STEM subjects, but not in a philistine way. I recently went to a performing arts college in Cornwall that was churning out brilliant graduates who will form the backbone of the creative industries, which is also a big earner for Britain.

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 13:47:06

JosieGransnet - thanks - absolutely understood about 1 question, perhaps Mr Cable could take a printout of the thread and read it later, even if he can't answer everything, I would be very grateful to know that my points were read by him at least.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:48:47

Foreveryoung

What do you think of Ed Miliband as a leader? Is he helping or hurting the coalition? Do you think David Miliband would have proved a more formidable leader of the opposition?

I won't intrude on the private grief of the Labour party. They have a deep problem regardless of who the leader is. The economic boom that got out of control occurred on their watch, leading to the disastrous collapse of the banking system. We're now a poorer country and people will remember where this originated.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:51:02

GrannyMurray

Hi Vince,

What do you think about Cameron's veto of the financial treaty in Europe? There's been lots of discussion on gransnet about it - some saying he was grandstanding and others saying he had to do it.

Do you think he did the right thing or was he just trying to curry favour?

I think, as Chou en lai once said of the French Revolution, it is too early to tell what the impact of the veto has been. I think, actually, it's a side issue. What really matters is whether the eurozone crisis is resolved in the next few months, and we are only on the sidelines.

What I do believe, however, is that we should not be giving overriding priority to the interests of the City of London. We need to think of all of Britain.

froufrou Tue 20-Dec-11 13:51:15

David Willetts and others have suggested that the baby boomers - our generation - are at fault for hoarding wealth and denying our children the means to get decent jobs and on the housing ladder.

What do you make of this argument? Can you assure us that the government won't try to dodge responsibility by setting one generation against another?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:53:06

popsiclegran

Are you scandalised that HMRC did sweetheart deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs over their tax payments and that this only came to light through a whistleblower and Private Eye?

Is this right at a time of austerity? In what sense are we all in it together? And will HMRC be reformed so that this doesn't happen again?

I think the answer is yes, I am scandalised, when I discover that leading companies are dodging taxes. The government has, however, put in place tougher controls over the banks who were the worst when it came to industrial-scale tax dodging. We also need to think about very rich individuals, who don;t pay their share of tax, which is why the Liberal Democrats have been advocating better taxation of valuable property, which can't run away to Monaco.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:53:19

flopsybunny

Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that you would be in coalition with the Conservatives?

No, except as a nightmare! But the best way of dealing with nightmares isn’t to hide under the sheets but to get up and deal directly with the things we feared.

MrsMicawber Tue 20-Dec-11 13:54:15

Sorry Vince, But Mr Cameron has issued a statement today insisting that those deals never took place.

Mr Cameron can no longer wipe his own nose as it is too long.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:54:24

firenze

Before the election, you were vocal about the irresponsibility of bankers...and this was very powerful, coming from someone who had worked in banking and had a sense of how things should be run to ensure stability.

How do you reconcile this with lack of action over bankers' bonuses and the government's outright hostility to regulation of the City, as seen at the recent Brussels summit?

I didn’t work in a bank (I worked in an oil company) but I did write a book about the financial crisis.
There is a great deal of action being taken. Bankers are subject to a balance sheet tax; tax avoidance schemes are being curbed; so are bonuses (now less than a third of peak levels a few years ago); we are introducing mandatory pay disclosure; and we have embarked on reforms to split the banks which are more radical than the EU or USA.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:54:37

agedliner

Vince, am very interested to read your response re the Vickers reforms, but they've been covered by others.

So am asking about other important topics wink

Who did you want to win this year's Strictly final? And which politician would you like to see in the next Strictly?

Thank you and Happy Christmas smile

I supported and voted for Chelsee. But the last two were both brilliant, and I didn't feel bad about the result. Having done Strictly myself, at least for one episode, I strongly recommend it. I understand Lord Mandelson, my predecessor volunteered his services, and I'd like to see him actually perform! grin

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:55:36

Supernan

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said that better-off elderly people should make a “sacrifice” to help the Government balance its books. This now appears not to be a voluntary sacrifice. He proposes to means test the elderly for their bus passes & heating allowance. What is Vince Cable's view on this subject. Is this a party policy? I live in his Twickenham constituency.

The country is significantly poorer than three years ago because of the financial crisis and its legacy. This impacts on the living standards of almost everyone. We have sought to protect the elderly by re-linking the basic state pension to the higher of earnings or inflation. There is no government proposal to means-test bus passes or heating allowance.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:56:20

froufrou

David Willetts and others have suggested that the baby boomers - our generation - are at fault for hoarding wealth and denying our children the means to get decent jobs and on the housing ladder.

What do you make of this argument? Can you assure us that the government won't try to dodge responsibility by setting one generation against another?

I don't think David sought to blame people of your and my generation, but there is a massive generation gap. My grandchildren don't expect cheap housing, secure jobs, pensions and free universities, in the way that I was able to enjoy.

rosiemus Tue 20-Dec-11 13:57:14

What would you say to an 18 year old who is totally dispirited about the future? Huge debts if they do study, harder to get a job if they don't, lack of jobs altogether and no hope of ever being able to buy their own home? It was so different in my day

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 13:57:40

auldcodgers

Closing businesses = LESS tax revenue for the government.

Less fuel being bought = LESS tax revenue for the government.

Less retail goods being bought = LESS tax revenue for the government.

More unemployment = MORE unemployment benefit being paid out by the government.

I am not an economist but I can add up and these 3 LESSES and 1 MORE =

BIG TROUBLE for the economy.

Restricting people's incomes by upping taxes is not answer. If you want people to spend and create growth for this country you must reduce taxation and thus give incentive for spending.

LESS taxation = More spending = More growth = Stronger economy.

Your antithesis modelling is superficially attractive. If the economy worked like that is would be great. Unfortunately, unfunded tax cuts don’t translate into ‘stronger economy’ as you describe unless we are very lucky. The more likely outcome is:

Tax cuts = bigger budget deficit = higher borrowing costs = less growth = weaker economy. I think I can add up too!

rosiemus Tue 20-Dec-11 13:58:34

"My grandchildren don't expect cheap housing, secure jobs, pensions and free universities, in the way that I was able to enjoy."

your answer coincided with my question of a similar vein. So how DO you motivate your grandchildren (or at least ours) when all they can see ahead is debt and doom and gloom?

spid Tue 20-Dec-11 14:00:15

On a scale of one to ten, how optimistic do you feel about the country's economic future?

If you are at all positive, which industries are going to supply the growth?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:01:42

greatgablegran

Why does is Sir Fred Godwin still Sir Fred? If you are really serious about reforming the closed shop that runs Britain shouldn't you start by expelling some of its worst members?

Nick Clegg said yesterday that inequalities in wealth are greater than inequalities in income. Shouldn't people who sell their houses to fund elder care be excluded from paying a Mansion Tax?

I worry about how my grown up children are going to afford to have a family and lay foundations for the future. Am I right to be worried? How will Britain earn its living in future?

How many Tory MPs are you really sending Christmas cards to?

I have just received the report on what's happened inside Sir Fred Goodwin's RBS. It is an absolute scandal, but there are limited legal powers to act, but you're right, we do need to clean up this appalling mess and stop it happening again. That's why we're splitting up the big banks through ringfencing to stop the casinos affecting ordinary sensible banking.

In future, we will have to be more outward-looking and looking in particular to the big emerging markets of Asia and South America - exports and attracting inward investment. We've had a long period of artificial prosperity based on excessive borrowing and the country will in future have to earn its living through exports, business investment and being good entrepreneurs.

I'm sending no Christmas cards to Tory MPs, but I look forward to getting back to business working with them in the New Year.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:01:55

cabpjackson

I worked and paid tax in the UK for 50 years, but when I emigrated to Vancouver Canada my pension which includes some serps (State Earnings related Pension Scheme) was frozen at 48 pounds a week because of the UK governments inconsistant arrangements with countries outside the EU. I should be getting 139 pounds a week now so I am missing out 91 pounds a week, and I am asking what your government is going to do to restore the pension I have earned, along with the pensions of more than half a million British Pensioners in more than 120 countries, and of people in UK who might be considering retiring abroad?

I am afraid that we do not plan to change the way that pensions are paid to people who moved abroad.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:02:44

mousie

I presume as a member of the cabinet that you don't really suffer from ageism, but do you sometimes look around your colleagues in parliament and think that some highly competent people are passed over because of an obsession with youth?

I think I have to declare an interest - I think Ken Clarke and I are now the senior members, but yes, of course, we need a good spread of age as well as gender, class and other things.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:03:21

JessM

Oh do they? In which case what, Mr C, are you going to do about the dismal state of the sciences? My husband suggested that science degrees should be subject to much lower fees. How about that for an incentive for bright students to follow that path?

I do care about sciences. Unusually amongst ministers I have a science degree (but later switched to economics) and one of my two sons is a research scientist.
Actually there has recently been a big increase in students applying to do STEM especially maths and physics. There is no need to drop standards and we shouldn’t. The science research budget has been protected.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:04:21

Berengaria

Could you please ask Mr Cable what is being done to help older people back into the workplace after they have been made redundant.

I have been out of work for three years, despite looking for a new position almost daily, with little success. I have always been hard working and find this period of my life unnecessarily stressful.

I thought the government wanted ordinary persons to spend more on the High Street thus helping small businesses, This is not possible for me, millions more and I do not have a time line for this to change for the better.

I am very sorry to hear about your personal experience of worklessness and stress. There is a lot of attention being paid to young people out of work but I recognise that older people suffer periods of unemployment too.
We are scrapping the ‘default age of retirement’ so that older workers who make a valuable contribution can’t just be forced out of work on age grounds. Some employers (e.g. B & Q) are proactively good at hiring older workers.
We are funding a lot of training and retraining places through the National Apprenticeships service and FE colleges.
Some help is also being given to those on benefits who start their own business – have you looked into that?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:05:39

eggmayo

Vince. I am a big fan of yours, always have been, always will be. But when you say "As someone who was, and still is, left of centre and an opponent of Tories for 40 years I sometimes feel uncomfortable with the coalition too. But working with other parties in the national interest is only ‘betrayal’ in a very tribal view." I would honestly like to know where the point is when you break.

Student debt, the NHS, Europe - all of the principled positions you have held so dearly for 40 years slain in just 18 months of this coalition. When do you say "enough is enough"?

I realise it's difficult to get one's head round the idea of working together with people who have a different outlook, but don't most people do this very day of the week at work or in their neighbourhood?

You're very negative, because we have quite a lot of positive stories to tell. Lifting low earners out of tax, protecting state pensions, the pupil premium and radical reform of the banks.

MmeLindt Tue 20-Dec-11 14:06:52

Hello Vince,

Over on Mumsnet, a group of frustrated women started talking about the cuts and how they were unfairly aimed at the most vulnerable in our society. The more we ranted, the more we realised that we wanted to do something to highlight these injustices. Within a couple of days, we had set up a blog and started writing about the cuts that we find most objectional. www.toomanycuts.blogspot.com

My question is this:

Nick Clegg said yesteray:

History teaches that, at times of deep economic uncertainty, societies become more exposed to the forces of division – populism, insularity, separatism, an 'us versus them' mentality

Why then are the Lib Dems not doing more to go against the Conservative rhetoric of "benefit scroungers", which according to the LSE and the Guardian has increased in recent times.

The DWP has stated that benefit fraud is estimated at around 0,3% but most respondents of the survey conducted by the LSE think that the rate is 50 - 70%.

Us vs Them at present seems to be those who are not so badly off, against those who are facing benefit cuts and homelessness.

Does Nick Clegg mean what he says, or it is populism? And what will the Lib Dems do to show that he means business, because times are too serious for empty promises.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:08:41

NativityQueen

Not really a question, just a further point on the university funding. There were 2 things you could have done that would have been much much fairer.

Either, make it a graduate contribution, similar to now, but instead of being an 'amount owing' make it a % of income over a fixed level, for a fixed number of years. That would really be progressive, and would avoid this situation of middle income people having to pay back more than the wealthy.

Or, make the loans interest free. So, a graduate can contribute more, but it doesn't grow and grow in the way it is going to - for some income groups they will be paying back far more than the 27k of fees borrowed, because of the interest. This would mean the wealthy paid back quicker, the poorer didn't pay so much, but you would avoid the trap of being a middle income worker who has to pay back 50k worth or so, because of the interest.

Neither of those things are rocket science, but would make the thing so much fairer than the proposed system. I also take massive issue with the fact that although it was peddled as 'contributions based on future income', students will receive bursaries because of their parents' income, irrespective of what they may end up earning, and so if you happen to come from a slightly better off family, you will be subsidising someone who may be earning far more than you are.

Your suggestions are thoughtful and helpful. Actually, the amount people pay as a graduate contribution rises with income, which makes it more progressive than the formula you suggest. Also, if there was no interest rates there would be a massive subsidy, which to be frank we can't afford. The system we have now is a kind of graduate tax and the wealthiest should pay the most.

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Dec-11 14:08:51

In the United States there have been very interesting schemes to help people in midlife to get back into work after they have been made redundant, or are no longer wanted by large companies - eg internships for older people, schemes for making the transition from private sector to third sector, and (generous) prizes and reward schemes for 50+ social entrepreneurs. Would you consider bringing in schemes of this kind here to focus on making use of the talents of people in the second half of life?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:10:43

spid

On a scale of one to ten, how optimistic do you feel about the country's economic future?

If you are at all positive, which industries are going to supply the growth?

The next few months will be very difficult. But in the longer term, I'm optimistic - around 7 or 8 out of 10. We have some superb companies in advanced manufacturing (cars are doing very well), creative industries, IT, professional and business services. We're also open to the best companies in the world who like being based in Britain.

fabuless Tue 20-Dec-11 14:11:48

Isn't all the talk about a different type of capitalism just a way to get us to accept being poorer?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:13:24

rosiemus

What would you say to an 18 year old who is totally dispirited about the future? Huge debts if they do study, harder to get a job if they don't, lack of jobs altogether and no hope of ever being able to buy their own home? It was so different in my day

There is no reason for 18 year olds to be dispirited. If they want to study they do not acquire huge debts under the new system. The repayment is linked to their future income as graduates and if there is a low income or none, they don't pay.

You're right that life was easier when we were young, but those days of job security, cheap housing and guaranteed private pensions are now over and nonetheless hardworking enterprising young people will succeed.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:14:17

Annobel

Vince, please could you, as an economist, explain the enormous influence that the ratings agencies have on the world's economic situation? Why should these private companies (is that what they are?) dictate interest rates to democratically elected governments?

The rating agencies certainly need to be effectively regulated not least because of conflicts of interest (they receive income from the companies they rate). There are moves in the EU to tighten regulation but we do not have direct control of the rating agencies (the main ones are US based).

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:15:00

Dropstitch

Hi Vince, I voted Lib Dem at the last election and, whilst horrified that the Conservatives got in, was even more horrified that the Lib Dems chose to form a government with them and not the Labour party. I do believe that Labour needed some time to sort themselves out again but always felt that they were a more natural partner to the Lib Dems than the Conservatives.

What do you think a LibDem/Labour coalition could have achieved that a Conservative/LibDem coalition won't, ie on tuition fees?

It was not possible to negotiate a coalition with Labour. The numbers were not there. We did look at the possibility. This present coalition was the only way to get a stable government. Labour introduced tuition fees and suggested an increase so this was not an alternative.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:15:07

GeraldineGransnet

In the United States there have been very interesting schemes to help people in midlife to get back into work after they have been made redundant, or are no longer wanted by large companies - eg internships for older people, schemes for making the transition from private sector to third sector, and (generous) prizes and reward schemes for 50+ social entrepreneurs. Would you consider bringing in schemes of this kind here to focus on making use of the talents of people in the second half of life?

That's a good idea. We must look at it carefully. I should say that since I've been in the government, we've massively increased apprenticeships, which mostly go to adults and include a lot of retraining. We've also kept up funding for adult education which keeps a lot of older workers mentally active.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:15:55

effblinder

Hi Vince,

Thanks very much for joining us. I wonder how you feel about the public attitude towards Nick Clegg and how far you feel it is justified. He has received a lot of flak (putting it mildly!) for his actions on issues like tuition fees, and the points he has disagreed with the Tory line on have slipped under the radar a lot more.

Do you think there is enough public and party support for Clegg to stand as Lib Dem leader at the next election, or do you think that he has irrevocably damaged his Lib Dem credentials now?

Nick has had a savage press (and the rest of us to a lesser extent). He is attacked from the right for not being sufficiently close to Tory policy and from the left for being too close. Perhaps he – and we - are therefore in the right place.

crumblygranny Tue 20-Dec-11 14:16:30

Thanks for asking my question, but re EggMayo's question. Surely there' s a policy you have in mind that you couldn't sign up to? What are your personal 'red lines'?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:16:51

MrsMicawber

I've popped over from Mumsnet.

Vince, do you think the NMW is a reasonable living wage, and if it was raised, don't you think benefits would still be a viable lifestyle choice?

This raise could be funded by ensuring that executive salaries were kept reasonable, with wealth spread around more evenly throughout organisations.

I would start with Council Executives and Social Workers having their pay evened out somewhat.

I support the minimum wage and recently approved an increase. I act on the advice of an independent body, the Low Pay Commission, and I think it is better to keep decisions non-political, I certainly agree with you on executive pay and I've just finished an exercise looking for ideas on how we ensure that companies keep their top pay under control.

eggmayo Tue 20-Dec-11 14:16:58

Thanks for answering my question Vince, but it's not really the "working together" part that I have an issue understanding.

Working together is fine and of course I understand the strains of coalition. But every day in the people I choose to work with I look for compromise - they'll give a little on this, I'll give a little on that. But then they ask me to sacrifice beliefs I have held dearly for years, and I have to say "no, sorry, I can't do that, no deal."

My concern is this - you are the acceptable face of the coalition - you're given a licence to come on here and joke around and say the coalition is a "nightmare" - but do you ever worry that in doing so you're just legitimising time and time again the Tories getting away with murder. When is enough enough for you? When do you refuse to go on making the jokes?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:17:03

dotnet

Personal debt - do the LibDems think it is a good thing?
Personal debt - do the LibDems think it is a good thing to inculcate a 'debt=good' mindset in eighteen and nineteen year olds looking for an education?

What do you think of the way Alex Salmond is looking after his Scottish students? And, finally, when is something going to be done to abolish the new serfdom of unpaid work in the form of 'internships' for our children leaving university?:

The overall level of household debt is too high in the UK mainly because of the house price boom in the last decade which took prices (and mortgage debt) to extreme and unsustainable levels.
But there is nothing wrong with individuals borrowing prudently – for example for house purchase. Most of us did when we were younger and managed our debt.
Student loans are subsidised and only have to be paid if the incomes of graduates rise above £21k.
The Scottish anomaly is unaffordable and will come to grief.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:18:10

absentgrana

I should like to know why universities come under the umbrella of business rather than education and, given the way the liberal arts and languages have been dismissed by this coalition, is there a plan to change the nature of further education simply to training for employment?

Universities are grouped with business because the last government believed (and we agreed) that universities are crucial to the economy. They are a big export industry (overseas students) and crucial to preparing the UK for the ‘knowledge economy’. There is a critical shortage of engineers in particular. But liberal arts and languages are equally valued and there has been no change in the relative support levels given to arts and sciences (sciences have expensive labs and so always received greater subsidy). In FE we have protected the budget which supports adult learning including non-vocational courses.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:18:29

Mamie

I should like to ask Vince Cable if he feels he has been successful in convincing fellow members of the government of the importance of business, trade and industry in the UK beyond the narrow confines of the City of London and the financial services industry? How does he view the current wave of anti-European sentiments coming from parts of the Conservative party and the media in terms of its long-term impact on Britain's economic development?

I totally agree that we shouldn't let the City of London be the tail that wags the dog. I recently spoke out criticising this obsession with City institutions. We need to support economic growth in all parts of the country and boost our very high quality manufacturers in particular. We have to stay within the European Union and improve its single market.

AvadaKedavra Tue 20-Dec-11 14:18:36

Has Mr Cable heard of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign against 50% cuts to the Tax credits enhancements for disabled children that the Government is proposing/has proposed which Mumsnet is also supporting?

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_campaigns/1361867-Cuts-to-benefits-paid-to-families-with-disabled-children-what-do-you-think?pg=1

What are your thoughts on this matter?

I think it is very low to sneak in a cut like that to the absolutely most vulnerable people in society, who cannot fight back.

Also what are your thoughts on the fact that Mr Cameron in PMQs last week lied about the cuts saying there would be none?

Thank you for your time.

NativityQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 14:18:41

Thank you for your answer on uni fees - I agree that the wealthy 'should pay more', but I don't think this scheme will enable that - something that really irks me is the selective use of statistics. For example, arguing that because someone on 500k will pay more back than someone on 10k, when that isn't the issue, because the person on 500k will pay back 27k, the person on 45k will pay back well over 27k because of interest incurred.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:19:24

Mamie

I should like to ask Vince Cable if he feels he has been successful in convincing fellow members of the government of the importance of business, trade and industry in the UK beyond the narrow confines of the City of London and the financial services industry? How does he view the current wave of anti-European sentiments coming from parts of the Conservative party and the media in terms of its long-term impact on Britain's economic development?

I have been strident in arguing the case for rebalancing the economy away from banking and the City of London and some key policies in my department are helping us to achieve that: innovation support, training, the Regional Growth Fund and Green Investment Bank; export support and supply chain financing. The banks and hedge funds do not speak for Britain and we are proceeding with radical reform of the banks – going further than the EU.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:20:36

fabuless

Isn't all the talk about a different type of capitalism just a way to get us to accept being poorer?

I don't quite know what you're driving at. I think Churchill once said that capitalism, like democracy, was not a good system, but it just happens to be better than the others. Nobody has yet come up with an alternative model which works and some of the experiments with communism in particular have been an unmitigated disaster.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:25:08

eggmayo

Thanks for answering my question Vince, but it's not really the "working together" part that I have an issue understanding.

Working together is fine and of course I understand the strains of coalition. But every day in the people I choose to work with I look for compromise - they'll give a little on this, I'll give a little on that. But then they ask me to sacrifice beliefs I have held dearly for years, and I have to say "no, sorry, I can't do that, no deal."

My concern is this - you are the acceptable face of the coalition - you're given a licence to come on here and joke around and say the coalition is a "nightmare" - but do you ever worry that in doing so you're just legitimising time and time again the Tories getting away with murder. When is enough enough for you? When do you refuse to go on making the jokes?

Just two thoughts, really. Sorry if you're offended by attempted humour, I think most people prefer it. I don't accept that we let the Tories get away with murder.

We drive hard bargains and I was very pleased yesterday that we got a significant agreement to proceed with radical reform of the banks. Recently I was pressed to do things which would have undermined employees' basic rights in the workplace, but didn't go along with them. That's the way we operate, fighting our corner.

I don't know what the line is I wouldn't cross until I get to it.

styleslave Tue 20-Dec-11 14:26:39

Don't know if you're still taking questions but mine is - how would you prepare teenagers for the world that lies ahead of them? I just don't know what to say to my children any more, other than try to join the rootless global elite and be rich - which they don't want to do and neither do I want for them, really.
What skills are necessary for a young person in Britain today?

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:27:01

AvadaKedavra

Has Mr Cable heard of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign against 50% cuts to the Tax credits enhancements for disabled children that the Government is proposing/has proposed which Mumsnet is also supporting?

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_campaigns/1361867-Cuts-to-benefits-paid-to-families-with-disabled-children-what-do-you-think?pg=1

What are your thoughts on this matter?

I think it is very low to sneak in a cut like that to the absolutely most vulnerable people in society, who cannot fight back.

Also what are your thoughts on the fact that Mr Cameron in PMQs last week lied about the cuts saying there would be none?

Thank you for your time.

I don't know the answer to your question, without checking, but I am sure my colleagues wouldn't knowingly take steps which damaged disabled children. I'll raise it with colleagues.

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Dec-11 14:29:05

That's all we've got time for, I'm afraid, but many thanks to Vince for coming in and answering our questions with such efficiency and grace under pressure!

Many thanks indeed!

MmeLindt Tue 20-Dec-11 14:29:13

"That's the way we operate, fighting our corner"

Your corner is getting smaller and smaller.

Banking reform is great, admirable but it is too far away for the needy to get any kind of benefit (no pun intended) from it.

What about those who will lose DLA from next year? Banking reform that comes into force in several years will not help them.

VinceCable Tue 20-Dec-11 14:29:40

Many thanks for your questions - some of them were very testing. I'm sorry if time didn't allow fuller replies to some of the more difficult and complex issues.

eggmayo Tue 20-Dec-11 14:30:07

Thanks Vince. Thanks for answering mine and so many questions. Look forward to seeing where that line is grin

MmeLindt Tue 20-Dec-11 14:31:20

Thank you for an interesting webchat.

Would it be possible to answer the other questions and have GN post them up later (as if often done on Mumsnet webchats).

grannyactivist Tue 20-Dec-11 14:33:27

Thanks to Mr. Cable and to GNHQ. Some very interesting responses; I hope that Mr. Cable will look into matters raised here which he was unable to answer due to time constraints.

AvadaKedavra Tue 20-Dec-11 15:42:51

Thank you Mr. Cable for answering my question, well kind of...

I find it quite perturbing that you aren't really aware of the issue confused I also forgot to mention the fact that you will only be able to claim for one disabled child in a family when many families have more than one.

How on earth is that going to work then?

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Dec-11 21:27:55

We will draw attention to the fact a few things remain unanswered, although we think he may already hold some kind of record for whizzing through questions in an hour, so may not be worth holding our breath...

nanachrissy Tue 20-Dec-11 23:00:35

Where have all these people suddenly appeared from to ask all these questions? I've never seen most of them before, or am I being naive?

Annobel Tue 20-Dec-11 23:11:00

We have thousands of GN members only a small proportion of whom post regularly, so obviously web chats like this one have encouraged a lot of them to break their duck and welcome to them.

em Tue 20-Dec-11 23:41:18

Let's hope then, that now they've cut their teeth on a serious topic, they might enjoy some of our more light-hearted ones. Nice to see several new names so it would be good to think they'll stay around and participate.

grrrranny Thu 22-Dec-11 09:57:05

nanachrissy My thoughts exactly. I hadn't checked out this thread until today and cynically wondered if people had signed up just to ask questions that would be attributed to gransnetters but weren't really.

Gally Thu 22-Dec-11 10:04:43

I mentioned this on another thread, yesterday I think, and asked how many our membership was - I reckoned about 16,000. Give us a clue Geraldine grin

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 22-Dec-11 10:48:09

It's true we have many thousands of members who never or almost never post and we know that some of them joined in here (a Good Thing!) A rule of thumb is that you reckon to have ten times as many inactive or rarely-active members as active ones and ten times that again of lurkers who look but don't join. Our hundreds of thousands of page impressions a month and our tens of thousands of unique visitors seem to bear out the general rule.

We've noticed before that some of the less active members may well be inspired to get involved when there's an event - a book club or a webchat. Since this one was quite exciting, we publicised it on mumsnet - we know we had a couple of mumsnetters come over - and on twitter, where it attracted a lot of attention. It's fine for people to come on to ask a particular question about something they care about - and we hope we'll keep lots of them. And we are lovely inclusive people. (On the whole!)

JessM Thu 22-Dec-11 12:00:09

Mmm, most of the people that win prizes seem to be lurkers too... But just because they like the competitions and other bits does not mean they want to talk to us lot I guess. Their loss... Humph! smile

grrrranny Thu 22-Dec-11 15:53:44

Probably just me but if lots of mumsneters joined for the discussion and the discussion is used in 'the book' and it is supposed to represent the concerns of gransneters... I know we don't have to be grans to join... It is just me isn't it confused

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