Thursday, April 05, 2012

Big Society Capital(ism)

David Cameron's Big Society idea, has been re-launched yet again with Big Society Capital. It comes at a time when charities are feeling the effect of cuts in funding and many are struggling to keep afloat. The money is largely taken from dormant bank accounts - in itself a dubious activity - and will be paid to "entrepreneurs" so they can solve society's problems.

The NCVO (National Council Voluntary Organisations) has talked of "a perfect storm" of cuts and rising costs creating a toxic mix of circumstances for charities with increased demand for their services, growing financial pressures and an unprecedented fall in income.

Charities are the first casualties of cuts in local government funding. For example, Notts County Council is seeing its funding cut by 8% yet has cut funding to the county's charities by 34%.  Most embarrassingly for Cameron, the flagship Big Society charity MyGeneration run by Big Society Ambassador Shaun Bailey has had to close "due to lack of funds".

This initiative is designed to distract attention from a government in serious difficulties. One wonders how many "social entrepreneurs" will be using their money to pay for dinner with Cameron.

Many social enterprises and indeed charities are run for the benefit of fat cats on 100K plus salaries. They are free from the public scrutiny and accountability which the public services they supposedly replace had.

There isn't a hope  that they can fill the place of the National Health Service which Lansley is hell-bent on destroying.

Still the launch of this bank did give Cameron a good news story which the BBC subserviently treated as a serious bit of news. So the Big Society is obviously good for something.

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