Friday, 23 July 2010

BIG SOCIETY, BIG ALIBI

Cameron's 'Big Society' policy will be disastrous for Kent and Medway and will contribute to pushing unemployment even higher, say Kent Green Party. They claim that Government announcements earlier this week and in the Budget will lead to soaring unemployment and job-cutting privatisation[1]. They are concerned that the idea will lead to greater inequality. Simon Marchant comments:

"Cameron's idea that people should be setting up charities and social enterprise companies to run services that should be provided by the State will mean poorer services in all areas. What happens where there are shortages of volunteers? With Kent and Medway unemployment twice as high as two years ago[2], we need jobs. We do to tax fairly and to close tax havens, actions which if taken would generate more resources and prevent spending cuts and job losses.

"Two years ago 56 post offices were closed across the County[3]. Now Cameron wants unemployed people to reopen them with little help from Government. This is at a time when start up capital for new enterprises is very difficult to obtain. More recently the cuts in the Police force have seen the loss of 200 training places[4]. These are essential jobs but is Government suggesting that these should be covered by volunteers?
Areas that are already more deprived will simply not be able to take on the role of the State in providing services themselves(5). The funding simply won't be there and we will see further inequality.

"The ‘Big Society’ idea is simply an alibi for privatisation and a refusal by the Conservatives and Lib Dems to provide a fair and equitable distribution of essential services.”
Ends
Further information: Simon Marchant on 01634 313482. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. Research for this release partly provided by Stuart Jeffery.

Notes:
1. The Governments current proposals will cost 600,000 public sector jobs over a five year period PLUS about 600,000 private sector job losses as people lose their jobs and cut their household spending. Further cuts being suggested will increase these figures.
2. Unemployment / claimant count for Kent and Medway: June 2010 - 32062; June 2008 - 16952
3.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7130545.stm
4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-10669429
5. New Economics Foundation Ten Questions about the Big Society - http://www.neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/Ten_Big_Questions_about_the_Big_Society.pdf (2010) &
New Economics Foundation Filling the Gap: why enterprise based regeneration is not working http://www.neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/Filling_the_Jobs_Gap.pdf (2010)

Other references on the topic:
Liverpool - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/reality-of-the-big-society-dawns-on-liverpool-2031237.html
Is there room for art in B Society - http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/christina-patterson/christina-patterson-is-there-room-for-art-in-the-big-society-2031075.html
What does "ultra-local power" mean - http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23858066-can-david-camerons-big-society-reach-londons-poorest.do
Successful Big Society type projects - http://davidbarrie.typepad.com/david_barrie/2010/07/building-public-association-build-the-big-society.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-big-society-2031148.html
Big Society insurance - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/7900957/Big-Society-insurance-policy-to-be-launched.html
Steve Richards - "But what if the Big Society doesn't work? While the over-riding motive is not directly connected to our economic situation, lack of resources is why the vision is so limited"
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-but-what-if-the-big-society-doesnt-work-2030413.html

Transcript of Cameron speech - http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/speeches-and-transcripts/2010/07/big-society-speech-53572

Also:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/07/20/the-big-con-115875-22425836/
http://dizzythinks.net/2010/07/gordon-camerons-big-social-investment.html
http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6151658/the-return-of-the-big-society.thtml

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