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Charities say Cameron has 'abandoned the Big Society'

Some of Britain's biggest charities have accused the David Cameron of abandoning the sector which he had lauded as a central part of his 'Big Society.'

In a letter to the Prime Minister seen by The Times (£) the heads of some of the biggest charities say they have been left out of policy consultations and suffered from local authority cuts.

David Cameron launches The Big Society Capital fund in April 2014
David Cameron launches The Big Society Capital fund in April 2014 Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Wire

The letter by Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, which represents 2,000 charities, warns the Prime Minister that his Big Society idea, central to his plans in 2010, is “effectively dead”.

He adds that the potential for charities to transform public services “remains largely untapped, with reforms in too many areas glacially slow”, he says.

“The mood music across Whitehall has been that reform is off the agenda. The reality many charities now face is crippling spending cuts.”

International Development Secretary defends Big Society

Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell.
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."

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Archbishop of Canterbury dismisses PM's 'Big Society'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who has dismissed David Cameron'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."

PM hails Big Society fund launch

David Cameron said a new £600 million Big Society fund would be used to help tackle the country's "deepest social problems".

The Prime Minister claimed the money would help "smash away" the "patronising assumption" that small charities cannot do big things.

The initial capital for the fund will be an estimated £400 million in unclaimed cash from bank accounts dormant for more than 15 years and £200 million from Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS.

Labour responds to Big Society Capital launch

Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office responds to the Government’s launch of Big Society Capital:

"Charities need all the support they can get. This announcement is welcome, but it is too little, far too late.

"The Government should not over claim at a time when over 70,000 jobs in the sector have been lost in the last year alone and too many charities are cutting back on the support they provide to individuals and communities as a result of the Tory-led Government's cuts that go too far, too fast."

– Jon Trickett MP

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'Dormant' bank accounts to pay for Big Society

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'Unused' money to fund good causes Credit: Reuters

Money from ‘dormant’ bank accounts is being used to help fund David Cameron's Big Society plans.

£600 million is being made available to fund investment in charities and social enterprises with the Prime Minister saying the money will help tackle the country's "deepest social problems".

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