Big Society row

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell defends the Government's Big Society concept after the Archbishop of Canterbury's attack on it.

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International Development Secretary defends Big Society

Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell. Credit: Reuters

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell defended the Government's Big Society concept on BBC1's the Andrew Marr Show.

Asked if he thought it was a 'cover for the withdrawal of the state under a Conservative-led Government', he replied:

"Well it is absolutely not that, it is the reverse of that and we don't always explain it perhaps as well as we should.

"But it's about crowding in all parts of society, the Government, local government, the voluntary sector, civil society to tackle these big endemic problems, which the Prime Minister and all of us have tried to articulate and tackle."

Archbishop of Canterbury dismisses PM's 'Big Society'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who has dismissed David Cameron's Big Society Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has dismissed David Cameron's Big Society as a ploy to conceal a "deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable".

Dr Rowan Williams, who will stand down in December, denounces the concept as "aspirational waffle" in a new book.

In one passage, obtained by The Observer, he writes: "Introduced in the run up to the last election as a major political idea for the coming generation, (it) has suffered from a lack of definition about the means by which such ideals can be realised."

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