By Claire West
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s relaunch of the Big Society, Mark Littlewood, Director-General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the proposed plans will merely serve to make charities more reliant on state funding and will further serve to undermine the true purpose of the initiative.
“The relaunch of the Big Society should have been about ushering in a new age of philanthropy. Instead it will merely reframe the way charities deal with the state and make them even more reliant on state funding.
“Paying charities by results may make them, and the state, more efficient but, in doing so, it will further cement many charities’ positions as mere extensions of the state. It will see them conduct themselves in ways which serve to meet centrally-set targets, and find them less responsive to the needs and specific requirements of individuals. They will become taxpayer-funded agents in all but name.
“If the government wants to unleash the Big Society, it must allow it to grow naturally from the philanthropic activities of individual men and women around the country, not try and force it into being through expensive gimmicks, such as the Big Society Bank, and bumper Whitehall handouts.”