Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ is an ‘intellectually flawed pipe dream’
for a 1950s Britain, says Unite
19 July 2010
David Cameron’s ‘passion’ for the ‘Big Society’ is
‘intellectually flawed’ and a throwback to a 1950s Britain that
never existed, Unite, the largest union in the country, said
today (Monday, 19 July).
Unite, which has 60,000 members in the not for profit sector,
said that the prime minister’s revival of his ‘Big Society’
pipedream failed to answer two vital questions:
- Who is going to do all the volunteering when men and women now
both have to work to pay the household bills and the increased
taxes that the coalition government is imposing?
- Where is the cash coming from when the contracts that charities
bid for and third sector money are being slashed, such as the case
of the leading legal agency for asylum seekers - Refugee and
Migrant Justice (RMJ) - which collapsed last month due to cash flow
Rachael Maskell, national officer, community and not for profit
sector, said: ”David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ is an intellectually
flawed creed that harks back to a vision of 1950s Britain that
never existed. We have been down this road before when John Major
had a similar pipe dream of an idyllic Britain of 60 years ago.
”There is a hypocrisy here. The voluntary sector is being hit by
massive cuts to its funding – for example, Croydon council has
slashed 70 per cent of its voluntary sector budget.
”And the coalition’s rampant drive for greater competition –
heralded by the NHS white paper last week – will drive down costs
even more, especially as the ‘Big Society’ welcomes private sector
”This will mean that quality is compromised for cheapness. This
culture either destroys services in organisations willing to
compromise or stops them winning bids.
”Volunteering is not a replacement for jobs. Charities still
need professional skills and good managers. And if we want the
sector to add quality then well-trained professionals need to do
”The ‘Big Society’ is smoke and mirrors for an avalanche of
privatisation under the Tories.”
Notes to news editors:
For further information, please ring: Rachael Maskell, national
officer, community and non profit sector on 020 7420 8979 or Shaun
Noble, communications officer on 020 7420 951 or 07768 693
Email to a friend