British PM launches Plan for 'Big Society'

Money held in dormant British bank accounts will be used to fund Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to stimulate the UK's community and voluntary sector.

Four districts have applied to be "guinea pigs" for Mr Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative, which was criticised by Labour as “DIY charity” during the election campaign. Windsor, Liverpool,Eden Valley in Cumbria and Maidenhead in Berkshire will get State-employed community organisers to encourage locally led community projects into life.

Speaking in Liverpool, Mr Cameron said: “The Big Society is about a huge culture change where people . . . feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities.

“It’s about people setting up great new schools, businesses helping people getting trained for work, charities working to rehabilitate offenders. It’s about liberation, the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.”

However, the move by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition has led to attacks from trade unions, who fear it is little more than a cover for major cutbacks to come in the public sector.

(Source: Irish Times, 20 July)