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'Big Society' lacks clear vision or credible plan

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David Cameron has failed to articulate a clear idea of what the ‘Big Society’ is and the government lacks a credible plan for making it work in deprived areas, an independent cross-party commission has found.

In a report the Commission on the Big Society, which was established by charity lobby Acevo, criticised the government for failing to articulate a clear idea of what the ‘Big Society’ is or a clear plan for how it will be realised.

The commission, which brought together politicians from across the political spectrum along with civil society leaders, urged the prime minister “to seize the reins in driving forward the Big Society agenda”.

The report found that just 13% of the public think the government had communicated a clear idea of what the Big Society is about.

It added that the government “lacks a credible plan” to make the Big Society work in deprived areas.

The commission also called for banks to reinvest a minimum of 1% of pre tax profits for social good and called for a new regulatory framework to ensure banks lend t financially excluded communities.

The commission, which had no local authority representatives, warned that council cuts risked undermining the Big

Society and called for central government to set more “rules for the road” for local authorities.

Commission chair and Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard said the commission “truly supported the vision of the Big Society”. “We believe that has a concept it has the potential to transcend party politics.

“The Conservatives do not have copyright on Big Society - its roots and its prospects of success lie with all of us, in Westminster and beyond.

“However, government’s current failure to communicate plans effectively is breeding cynicism sand means they are in danger of leaving the public behind.”


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